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Tag Archives: excellence

Excel In Grace

In my last post, we saw how the churches in Macedonia walked in the miraculous grace of giving.  Now Paul wants to use them as an example to the Corinthian church (and us).

So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.
2 Corinthians 8:6

The last time Paul visited Corinth, the church promised a big offering for the churches in Judea.  They were going through a time of great famine and Paul wanted the Gentile churches to be a blessing to them.

Apparently, Titus, Paul’s son in the faith, was charged with the arrangements.  He was to make sure the money was collected and brought to the needy churches.

It’s continually made clear that giving is an act of grace.  God works through us to help others.

But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:7

The Corinthian church had many things going for it.  They were one of the largest churches of their day.  They also had a powerful ministry.

The apostle acknowledges the incredible work they were doing.  He said that they excelled in everything.  That word means to super-abound in quality or quantity.  They were a church doing a great work.

The first thing Paul lists is faith.  That’s where it all starts.  A church with no faith has no vision.  It doesn’t take faith to make sure you have a service every week.

You have to see where God wants to take you to.  What’s the next level in your ministry?

Another thing they excelled in was their speaking.  They must have had a great preaching and teaching ministry.  That’s a big part of church growth.

People need to be trained.  New believers need mentoring.  Mature believers need to learn the art of leadership.  We never stop growing.  A church without a teaching ministry is bound to stagnate.

Along with this, they also excelled in knowledge.  They wanted to learn.  That’s probably why they followed the corrections in Paul’s first letter.

A teachable spirit is very important.  The more we learn, the more we must be open to change.

A great pastor friend of mine says quite frequently, “Growth means change, and change is uncomfortable.”  So we have the choice; we can be comfortable and stay the same or uncomfortable and grow.

Finally, the apostle commends them for excelling in earnestness.  That’s an important component.  It’s the Greek word from which we get the English word, speed.

It’s one thing to know what you need to do.  Many churches know the changes that need to take place to bring them to the next level.  The hard part is taking that first step and doing what needs to be done.

The Corinthian church was graced in all of these areas.  Now Paul wanted them to launch full speed into the grace of giving.  We need to learn from their example.

Question: How quick are you to obey a new instruction from God?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Our Excellent God (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

I believe that the word excellent is overused in our society.  Excellence doesn’t just mean good, or even great.  It means that what’s described is far ahead of everything else.  It’s not a word that should be used lightly.

It’s a descriptive word that should probably be reserved for God alone, and the things associated with Him.  We serve a God of excellence.  I just want to take a post to show the excellent God that we serve.

The very names that God uses about Himself point to the fact of His Excellency.  Here are some examples from the Old Testament:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

In this verse, God is called the Most High.  This is a term of comparison.  There are many things in the universe that could be considered “high.”  But of all the high things and people that exist, God is the Most High.  This fits perfectly into the definition of excellence.

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
Psalm 148:13

Exalted and above are also words of comparison.  They relate the Lord to His surroundings.  They show that He alone is in a position of supreme excellence.  There’s no other god that can even compare to our God.

My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
Song of Songs 5:10

In the Song of Songs, written by Solomon, an allegory of the marriage between Christ and His church is put forward.  Christ is referred to here as outstanding among ten thousand.  This is an obvious comparison showing the excellence of Christ.

In the beginning God…
Genesis 1:1a

Before everything, there was God.  All of creation sprang from His Word.  He’s at the head of all He created.  That’s a perfect description of excellence.

When we use the word excellent, we should be careful to understand it.  We mustn’t water it down to simply describe something that pleases us.  We should always be aware that we serve a God who is the very definition of excellence.

Christ truly is the Excellent One.

Question: How would you describe the Excellency of our Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2018

 

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God is Excellent!

Cloud2The following is the second of six reposts of my most read articles. It was originally posted in 2013. It was from a series on spiritual excellence.

To view the original series click here.

I believe that the word excellent is overused in our society. In my last post I talked about what excellence is. It doesn’t just mean good, or even great. It means that what’s described is far ahead of all the others. It’s not a word that should be used lightly.

It’s a descriptive word that should probably be reserved for God, and the things associated with Him. We serve a God of excellence. I just want to take a post and show the excellent God that we serve.

The very names that God uses about Himself point to the fact of His Excellency. Here are some examples from the Old Testament:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

In this verse God is called the Most High. This is a term of comparison. There are many things in the universe that could be considered high. But of all the high things and people that exist, God is the Most High. This fits perfectly into the definition of excellence.

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
Psalm 148:13

Exalted and above are also words of comparison. They relate the Lord to His surroundings. They show that He alone is in a position of supreme excellence. There is no other god that can even compare to our God.

My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
Song of Songs 5:10

In the Song of Songs, written by Solomon, an allegory of the marriage between Christ and His church is put forward. Christ is referred to here as outstanding among ten thousand. This is an obvious comparison showing the excellence of Christ.

In the beginning God…
Genesis 1:1

Before everything, there was God. All of creation sprang from His Word. He’s at the head of all He created. That’s a perfect description of excellence.

When we use the word excellent, we should be careful to understand it. We mustn’t water it down to simply describe something that pleases us. We should always be aware that we serve a God who is the very definition of excellence.

Christ truly is the Excellent One.

Question: How would you describe the Excellency of our Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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Effective Leadership = Clear Vision

transportIn my last post I talked about the need for leaders to have God’s vision for their ministries. This is not just a game we’re playing. It’s the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It can’t be broken down into rules and formulas. Eighty percent of it is relationship. We must be able to communicate and hear from Christ, the Head. Good leadership means hearing from God, and knowing the direction to be heading into.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

When the leader has no vision, no clear revelation from God, then there’s no clear direction in which the church should travel. At that point it becomes “every man for himself.” There’s no force holding the church together as a unit. There’s no goal ordering the people to march together in one direction.

When there’s a clear plan from God, the people are restrained from running off in all directions. Your resources can be targeted at the specific task ahead.

That’s where the spirit of excellence is born; in the realm of vision. Vision, knowing God’s strategy for your life and your ministry, is the deciding factor in whether or not you walk in excellence. Most of the ministries that are a part of the “normal pack” are just going by trial and error, hoping that someday they’ll stumble over the secret to success.

They look around for a ministry that’s growing and try to incorporate those methods into their own schedule. Most of the time, it simply turns the ministry into a conglomeration of disjointed programs with no clear goal in view. Personally, I would much rather know the direction of success before I start out.

Once I know God’s plan for my ministry, then I can see where my personal life vision fits into it. The Holy Spirit will see to it that the vision of the local church will be completed in the sum total of each individual vision of the members. Excellence must work on both levels.

Without knowing the overriding vision of the church, there’s no clear direction. But the church is the people. Without a people who know their personal vision, then the church can never move forward into the excellence God has prepared for it. Vision is required on both the corporate and individual level.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3

Vision is something that must be plain and clear. It can’t be so general that no one understands how he or she fits into it. Some will say, “The vision of our church is to win the lost.” That’s great, but how do you intend to do that?

Is there a specific group of “lost people” that you’re called to win? What are you going to do with these lost people once they’re found? The vision needs to be clear and specific. It needs to be personally tailored for your life and ministry. It needs to show what makes you unique and different from everyone else who’s serving the Lord.

This is important because it’s only after you have a clear vision from God that you can focus your efforts. You won’t be distracted by other activities which are good, yet don’t bring about God’s plan in your life.

Questions: Do you know God’s vision for your life? What is it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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Is the Word of God Your Obsession?

Lion2I’ve been talking about the three levels of Scriptural meditation. It’s something that the body of Christ needs to once again focus on. In my last post I talked about the first level.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Psalm 63:6

The next step takes the thinking process deeper into your heart. In the above verse think of is the Hebrew word Hagah. This word is a strengthened form of the verb Hagag. It means to intensely think about.

Meditation at this level requires memorization of the Scripture. You have to become intimate with the Word of God.

At this level you begin to obsess on the Scripture. You dwell on it. You imagine the sights, the smells, and the textures. If it’s a teaching Scripture, then you imagine yourself obeying it. Get inside the Word. See it as written in you and about you. This starts to give you a deeper understanding of the application.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8

We all want prosperity and success. But are we willing to do what it takes to achieve the level of excellence necessary to lay hold of them? In order to develop a spirit of excellence, it will require you to use at least this level of meditation.

This is what the LORD says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey – and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor – so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.”
Isaiah 31:4

You may wonder what this verse has to do with meditating on the Word of God. Scripture describes it as a lion meditating on its prey. Hagah is the word growl in the above verse.

It doesn’t matter that a band of shepherds are trying to distract this lion. His focus remains fixed and unbroken. He has one thing in mind – lamb chops!

We need to obsess over the Word of the Lord the way a lion does over his prey. Don’t let the devil or the world distract you from your objective.

The question isn’t whether or not you have to do this. You can get by in your Christian walk without meditating on the Word of God. Even if you’re in the full-time ministry, there are enough books and tapes around to keep you in sermons and Bible studies for the rest of your life.

We should always desire something fresh from the Word. A major portion of what you’re preaching and teaching must come from your walk with the Lord. You can’t build a ministry of excellence if all you do is rehash what everyone else is saying.

When you allow the Holy Spirit to meet with you in the place of meditation, you’re in communication with the Author, Himself. In this way, you will gain insight you never thought possible.

This is something you must desire and go after. The choice is yours. You can stand before the people with a nice teaching; or you can come to them with a Word from God.

In my next post I’ll move on to the highest level of godly meditation.

Question: How often do you purpose to memorize Scripture?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

This series is adapted from my book, Breaking Free from the Pack – How to Develop a Spirit of Excellence.

 

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Quartermaster Ministries November Newsletter

God is doing great things!

New Book Now Available on Amazon

I am pleased to announce that my book, Breaking Free from the Pack – Developing a Spirit of Excellence is now for sale on Amazon.  This is a book I originally wrote a few years ago.  I have now revised and expanded it.  There is a Kindle version available as well.

The purpose of this book is to help all believers, especially those in leadership positions, to live a life of spiritual excellence.  This requires certain mindsets and disciplines.  The response to this book, and the Excellence Seminar that it comes from, is overwhelmingly positive.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book will change your life.

Breaking Free Cover-001  Click here for Paperback Version  

Click here for Kindle edition

More to Come!

With the re-launch of this book I’m starting a new Recommended Reading page where you can see some of the books that have had a positive impact on my life.  They will be linked to Amazon so that you can get them if you so desire.

I’m also developing a Speaker Page.  God has been calling me to become more public with my teaching ministry.  This page will explain the seminars and my availability.  I’m looking forward to more travel as the Lord opens doors to proclaim His Word.  It’s my desire to help prepare God’s people for the revival that I believe is imminent in this nation.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links”.  This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will help my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Newsletters

 

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The First Step to Excellence #excellenceinministry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Have you chosen the road of excellence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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Excellence and Prayer Cover #excellence #prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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

 

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Your Ministry of Excellence #excellenceinministry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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Excellence Restored #restoration

GrapesThe LORD will grant you abundant prosperity – in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground – in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Deuteronomy 28:11-13

Israel was called by God to walk in excellence.  To live at that level requires above average resources.  Scripture is clear that along with the calling we can expect the supernatural equipping of God.  He never calls you to a work and then leaves you to use your own strength and ability.

God wants you to have excellence in ministry.  He wants you to have all that you need to fulfill that ministry.  God has never been the God of “just enough.”

Some may say, “It’s too late for me.  I’ve wasted too many years in mediocrity to be able to walk in excellence now.”

To you I say, “Let God be God.”  You take care of your part, and He’ll take care of His.  The above verse was written to Israel so they would know God’s perfect will for their nation, which was that they might walk in excellence.

There was a problem, however.  In the next chapters, Moses went on to prophesy through the Spirit that they would fall away from their divine calling and lose the abundance of excellence.  He then goes further into the future showing them that eventually they would repent and return to the way God had chosen for them to walk.

The next verse explains what God said His reaction would be when they once again returned to a walk of excellence.

Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land.  The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers.
Deuteronomy 30:9

Praise God for the once again in the Lord.  All God is looking for is someone to humble themselves before Him. This will require the person to admit his or her mistakes, repent, and turn back to the right path.

He wants the fruit of your hands to flow with excellent prosperity.  You need to be listening for His voice and watching for His leading.  If you find that you’ve blown it, then be quick to admit it, repent, and move on.

Question: How has God equipped you for your calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
 

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