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Tag Archives: preaching the Gospel

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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Seeking God’s Approval

In my last post, I talked about the fact that we need to be approved by the Holy Spirit in order to use the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  They are too powerful to be used by infants or the unfaithful.

Now I want to go into this truth in a little more detail.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is an important verse to understand.  Here’s what the verse says in the Greek language: We speak as men who have been tested and approved by God.  He trusted us enough to allow us to use His Gospel.

I don’t believe that every single Christian should be sharing the Gospel.  I know there are some who would get mad at me for saying this.  But the truth is that there are certain believers that I don’t want anyone to know that they’re a Christian.

When they share about Jesus, they’re doing more harm than good.  Their lives don’t testify to God’s grace.  They actually make people not want to choose Christ.

We need to understand that the Gospel is the Word of God.  If we’re going to spread it with life-changing power, then it has to be done on God’s terms and not ours.

That’s why Paul makes it clear that the true Gospel is about pleasing God.  Too often we try to spread the Gospel with a message designed to please men.  We try to make the message more palatable.

That’s not how we should be operating.  It should be our goal to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit, then speak that to those who will listen.  This is the sword that there’s no defense against.

For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:18

This verse says it all.  We need to take it to heart.  We need to seek God’s approval.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

I talked about this verse a couple of posts back.  At that point, I emphasized the fact that we need to be approved.  Now I want to concentrate on the first part of the verse.

That phrase, do your best, literally, means be diligent or prompt.  In other words, stop putting off your approval process before God.  It should be a main priority of your life.

The verse goes on to say that we should desire to present ourselves to God in this way.  The words used in this verse are a word picture of standing beside yourself in order to present yourself.  There are times we need to take a step back and view our life from God’s perspective.

Then, we need to do what it takes to seek God’s approval.  This will require us to submit under the Holy Spirit’s training program.

Our flesh will definitely try to rebel against this plan.  But if we want to walk in the supernatural power of God, then this is the only road.

Question: What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do for the next step in your training?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Indonesian Testimony – Part 3

img_1902I’ve been posting about what I saw and learned on my recent vision trip to Indonesia with a group of ministers. We went to see how Boston area churches could get involved in what God is doing there.

So far I talked about what happened in the big city of Medan on the western side of Sumatra. Halfway through the trip, we took a one-hour plane ride to the eastern side. We stayed in the town of Sibolga.

We were now in a part of Sumatra that few Westerners get to see. Let me give you an idea of what I mean. The 15 mile ride from the airport to the town took one full hour because of the conditions of the road.

Sibolga is a small town on the edge of the mountains. As a matter of fact, the first thing we did when we got there was to take the road into the mountains. There was a special site we wanted to get to.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the roads we took looked like something taken from National Geographic magazine. They were narrow, winding roads, barely clinging to the sides of the mountain.

Two hours later we arrived at our destination. It was the place where the first missionaries to Sumatra (who were sent from Boston) were killed by the local Batak tribe. The Batak people now look back on that event with guilt and sadness. They have erected a memorial in honor of Lyman and Munson. That’s the picture at the top of this article.

But that brings me to the part we didn’t expect on this trip. This area is saturated with Batak churches. We came with the understanding that the area surrounding Sibolga needed the Gospel. So what was the problem?

We found that most of the local churches aren’t evangelizing the lost. A disconnect has formed between the churches and the missionaries. The local churches believe that it’s the missionaries’ job to win the lost, while it’s their job to build larger churches.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Mark 16:15

I believe that preaching the Good News of Christ to the lost is not optional for any believer. Whether it’s next door or around the world, we all have a part to play.

Upon learning about this spiritual dilemma in the work being done here, we made a decision. What we learned served to strengthen our resolve to support and encourage the new breed of church planters that God was raising up on Sumatra.

Their goal is to present the Gospel to the unreached people around them. It’s not in their agenda to fill their churches with pre-existing Christians. They passionately desire to see the Kingdom of God increase.

Along with that, I believe that God gave me a personal goal as well. I want to come back to the island with teams of 4-5 people who can help the missionaries in their evangelism projects. I can also be an encouragement to local ministers and theological students with practical training and teaching.

Pray for the church planters and missionaries who are reaching souls on Sumatra. Pray for the local churches to get God’s vision for reaching the lost around them.

Question: How have you reached out to those around you who need Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in Ministry, Missions, The Church, The Gospel

 

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