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6 Marks of a Spiritual Parent

Through Paul’s ministry, he gave birth to and established the church at Corinth.  In his second letter to them, he’s continuing his role as a spiritual parent.  We can gain some insight from this section of Scripture.

You may want to read 2 Corinthians 12:14-13:4 before you continue with this post.

Spiritual parents are not after your possessions.  They want your love and trust.

Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you.
2 Corinthians 12:14a

Don’t get me wrong.  They may need your support of their ministry.  But, they’ll never use guilt or shame to strong-arm you into giving.  They want to allow the Holy Spirit to direct your support.

Spiritual parents give up their lives for you.  They’re willing to go the distance.  They seek God’s will and will obediently follow His direction.  Many times that means doing things that are difficult or inconvenient.

Spiritual parents don’t exploit you.  This is a key point.  It’s all about attitude.  Why is that person in the ministry?  Some see it as an easy way to make a living.  Others see it as an opportunity to bring people up to a new level in Christ.

Spiritual parents want you strong and growing.  As a spiritual parent, there should be no sense of competition with those you’re leading.  The desire is that all should grow to their highest potential.  It doesn’t matter if you surpass me in some areas.

We’re all in this together.  We’re all working toward the same goal – to lift up the name of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual parents grieve over your sin.  This is something that many believers don’t understand.  They think that church leaders are in the clouds somewhere.  They don’t realize that true ministers are hurting because of the problems they see in their people.

Remember how Paul expressed it earlier in this letter.

Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?  Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
2 Corinthians 11:28-29

Spiritual parents correct you.  This is one of those areas that we try to avoid.  How do you handle correction from a church leader?  It’s actually harder for the leader.  We don’t want to have to bring correction to someone we love.

The problem is that our love for you compels us to want you to get back on course.  We know what’s ahead if you continue in your error.  A true spiritual parent wants your highest and best.

All of these things are at work in true leaders.  That’s why it’s so important that we continue to pray for them daily.  We want their ministry to be a joyful experience and not a burden.

Question: In what ways is God leading you to be a spiritual parent?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2020 in Leadership, Ministry, Relationships, The Church

 

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The Hard Truth of Ministry

I’m now getting back to my view of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church.  He’s continuing his description of how he’s affected by the call to minister the Gospel.

…through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
2 Corinthians 6:8-10

This is the side of ministry that not many people want to talk about.  It’s the price that you pay for obeying the call to preach the Good News.  At times it can be tough, but it’s definitely worth it.

The apostle talks about glory and dishonor.  That’s hard to deal with.  Most Christians don’t ever see it.  They sometimes view ministers as some sort of celebrity.

When I’m out in the world, interacting with society, it’s a different story.  When meeting new people, they usually ask what you do for a living.  They have a normal response to a doctor, teacher, or plumber.

When you tell them you’re a pastor or minister you get mixed reactions.  Sometimes they’re positive about it.  There are other times when they react as if I told them I was an illegal arms dealer.

The whole dynamic of the conversation changes.  They begin to apologize if they think they said something inappropriate.  If someone new joins the group, they’re warned, “He’s a pastor.  Watch what you say.”

Paul also understands about good and bad reports.  As a minister, you and your family live under a microscope.  Everyone watches everything you do; expecting you to live perfectly like Jesus did at all times.

Then, when they find out you’re human like everyone else, they write you off as an imposter.  In one sense you need to grow a “thick skin” to people’s attitudes.  While at the same time, you must keep an open heart to love everyone you meet.

That’s all a part of what Jesus talked about with His disciples.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:11

Many people expect a lot from their ministers.  They look for encouragement, hope, healing, and counsel.  What they don’t realize is that ministers need those same things.  Usually, it means that they need to be very proactive or they’ll end up burning out and leaving the ministry.

Please don’t think that I have a bad view of ministering for the Lord.  I wouldn’t choose anything else.  The rewards are overwhelming.

My point is this: never cease praying for your pastors, ministers, and church leaders.  They need encouragement and support just like anyone else.  Seek to bring them joy in the ministry.

Question: What do you see as the rewards and challenges of the ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Sheep Without Shepherds

In my last post, we saw Jesus going off to a solitary place with His disciples.  They were in need of some rest after a particularly stressful time.  After they were leaving, some people discovered where the Lord and His team were going to.

But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:33-34

Jesus and His disciples wanted a break from ministry.  Apparently, a few hours sailing on the lake was enough to lift their energy levels.  When He saw the crowds, Jesus was ready and willing to bring them God’s Word.

What impresses me the most is that it wasn’t out of obligation.  He didn’t minister because He was the Messiah and that was His job.  There was an inner pressure that was initiated by His compassion for the crowds.

It’s important to note how the Lord viewed these people.  He saw them like sheep without a shepherd.  That’s important.  They had shepherds assigned to them in the synagogues.  But for all intents and purposes, it was as if they had none.

That got me thinking about our generation.  As I look out across Western Christianity, I see the same problem.

Yes, we have people that we refer to as pastors (shepherds), and I’m one of them.  But I’ve been noticing a trend that gives me a cause for concern.  In our society, many believers are like sheep without a shepherd.

What do I mean by that?  Right now there’s an attitude in the body of Christ that we don’t need or want shepherds.  We want teachers who will tell us about living for God.  What we don’t want is a shepherd who will lead us in the right paths – and warn us not to take the wrong paths.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2 Timothy 4:3

The Apostle Paul saw it on the horizon.  He spoke about it to a young shepherd named Timothy.  We’re living in the fulfillment of this.  We want to surround ourselves with teachers, not shepherds.

When somebody teaches, I become the judge.  I decide whether or not to apply what I hear.  After all, no one’s going to tell me what I have to do.  God loves me, no matter how I decide to live my life.

The truth is that God does love you.  You may even be on your way to heaven.  But is that really what your life is all about?

We’re called to be the light of Christ in this dark world.  We’re the ones with the message of hope and salvation to those who are lost and dying.  When we live for ourselves, we miss the whole point of why the Lord placed His Holy Spirit in us.

When we live as sheep without a shepherd, then we’re on dangerous ground.  The enemy is able to pick us off, one by one.  That’s why so many Christians have the same problems as the world.  We should be living at a level that’s so much higher.

Make it your goal to place yourself under a God-assigned shepherd who will speak God’s word into your life.

Question: How has following a God-given shepherd protected you from an attack of the enemy?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Quartermaster Ministries – January Newsletter

Dedicated to walking in revival!

Stepping Out in a New Phase of Ministry

Many of you know that I’m a Senior Pastor in Watertown, MA.  Because of a series of events, our church has now become a home Bible study on Wednesday nights.  For a few years now, God has been preparing me to step out in a traveling ministry.  I believe that this is the push that I needed to get me started in that direction.

Very soon I will be adding a speaking page to my blog.  This will describe the unique message of revival that the Lord has given me, as well as my availability and itinerary.  If you want more information about having me speak at your church or group, you can e-mail me at Revzacc@comcast.net .

New Book Now Available on Amazon

Jesus Speaks ThumbnailI am pleased to announce that my new book, Jesus Speaks to Pastors – Finding the “Lost” Letters of Christ is now for sale on Amazon.  This book is written for pastors and church leaders, to encourage them in the ministry.  It’s taken from the book of Revelation, chapters 2-3.

In that section of Scripture, Jesus dictates seven letters to specific pastors.  Because we have misinterpreted them as being written to churches, we have lost a great deal of valuable truth concerning our ministries.

The Kindle version should be released soon.

Prayer Cover

With all of these new things happening in my life, I ask you to add this ministry to your prayer times.  I want the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit to be evident in all that I do.  Please join with me in trusting God for a revival to sweep through His church in our 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 2014

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 January 17, 2014 in Newsletters

 

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How God Opened My Eyes to Legalism #legalism

GlassesToday I want to start a new series of posts about how Jesus walked in the power of God.  But, before I do, I want to share a personal testimony about a trial I had to go through in order to receive this truth from the Lord.

Years ago, the church I pastored was running over a hundred on Sunday morning.  The ministry was flourishing and my family was able to obtain a mortgage on our own house.  It was a nice, little home on a quiet street – just what we always wanted.

Suddenly, the bottom dropped out.  My wife lost her job.  The mortgage payments doubled.  Through a series of moves and other events, the congregation went down to about 30 people.  To make a long story short, we went through a bankruptcy, lost the house, and now live in an apartment owned by my parents.

I don’t say all of this so you will feel bad for me.  I don’t regret it.  Many good things came out of it.  One of them was a Word from God.

This was one of the lowest times of my life.  On many occasions I cried out to God asking Him why this was happening to me.  One day, while I was in this state, I distinctly heard the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.  He asked me what my problem was.

As I started asking Him why He allowed my finances to dry up, the Lord asked another question.

“Why should I provide for your finances?”

I was a little taken back by the question, but I was ready with my answers.  I went through all the Scriptures I knew about the promises that God would supply my need.  Malachi 3:10-12, II Corinthians 8-9, Philippians 4:19, and many others.  These Scriptures were why I expected Him to bless my finances.

What the Holy Spirit asked next totally floored me.

“So you’re standing on the law to receive your financial blessing?”

I was speechless.  I sat in silence for over an hour.  I refused to believe that I was legalistic.  But I had no other explanation.

I trusted the Scripture instead of the God of the Scripture.  I was like the Pharisees that Jesus got upset at.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:39-40

The Lord started showing me, on that day, that I had fallen victim to an epidemic in the church.  Many believers are doing everything they can to fulfill the promises.  They’re trying to work for the blessings of God.  If you use the promises in this way, then you’re running on the power of the law.  You’ll never reach the full potential God has for you.

In this new series I want to show how Christ operated – as one submitted to God and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Question: What is your view on the promises of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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