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27
Mar

Day 5 of Prayer & Fasting

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

If you’ve ever studied at a university or college you know that there are certain “prerequisites” that a student MUST take first, in order to take more advanced courses and ultimately earn their degree.

The same things works when it comes to God.  There is a certain prerequisite that every person needs in order to see God do and complete a mighty work in your life.  Here are four prerequisites.

  1. Recognizing that you are a sinner
  2. Humbling yourself before God
  3. Confessing your sins and your faith in Jesus
  4. Seeking after God on a personal level

When you follow these prerequisites, you will begin to experience a transformation that will penetrate every thought, feeling, and action.

In the same way you can’t run without learning how to stand, you must first learn to stand before God with faith in Christ.

Application:

As we are approaching the end of our first week, make sure that you are not skipping any of the above steps.  As you approach God, make sure you know where you stand with Him.  When we draw near to God with humility, confession, you will see God draw near to you and draw out the best out of you.

26
Mar

Day 4 of Prayer & Fasting

Luke 13:1-5 (ESV)

13 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus used two current events to refute a teaching that the religious leaders in Israel taught the people.  The deception was that the more a person sins the more the suffer because of their sins.  The level of suffering was what people used to know where they stood with God.  This is a horrible lie.

People love to fall into this comparison trap.  We judge ourselves based on the standard of another individual.  We do this because it makes us look better.  “At least Im not like that guy!”.  In reality, God doesn’t judge us by comparing ourselves to other human beings but rather God judges us based on how we compare to Him!  None of us are going to come out looking good in this scenario.

Sin is NOT connected to suffering.  How many people have you ever seen SUFFER by doing the RIGHT thing and not the wrong?  To God, sin is sin is sin.  The amount of sin that we commit doesn’t matter.  What does matter is our awareness of our own sin.

Application:
If you’ve ever said, “No one is perfect”, you have just condemned yourself.  You are confessing that a certain level of perfection exists and no human being has ever or will ever achieve it.

As you continue to repent, as God to help you become MORE aware of the presence of God in your life but also the presence of unchecked sin.  Be open to God and allow Him to clean out your house.  And more importantly, stop comparing your faults to another.  We ALL have failed short of God’s standard of perfection (Romans 3:23).  Own up ti your sins and that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.  Do this and watch God give you a sense of purpose, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

26
Mar

Day 3 Prayer & Fasting

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

What an terrific and equally terrifying statement from God.

Here we get a glimpse of the character of God.  He is not sitting on His throne with a massive fly swatter seeing who messes up so He can swat each sinner.  Instead, we see an active God who is kind, good, and loving.

Like any good father, He doesn’t want anything bad to happen to His kids.  Because He actually IS a good father, He isn’t going to just spoil us by giving us everything we want, how we want it, and when we want it.

Many complain that there is too much evil in this world, but here God is telling us that He hasn’t dealt with it yet so that MORE of us can be saved!

Application:

God is patient but it does have it’s limit.  There will be a day where God will make all things right and judge sin.  Don’t waste another minute without receiving the grace, mercy, and love that Jesus is extending to you!  Repent, return to God, give Him your past and surrender your future.  He says He WILL fulfill His promise to raise you to new life through Christ, but you must first believe and receive in that promise!

24
Mar

Day 1 of Prayer & Fasting

Acts 17:30-31 (ESV)

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

No one is without excuse! God has done everything necessary for us to find our way back to Him. All that is required is that we REPENT.

Repenting is not repeating an apology to God.

To REPENT basically means to CHANGE YOUR MIND about God & yourself.

You MUST see yourself as a sinner in need of a Savior. Repenting isn’t just for the unbelievers. Christians should develop the daily habit of repenting as well, not to secure our salvation but to allow God to continue the work of sanctification = making us more like Him.

Repenting is ESSENTIAL for our Christian walk because… – it keeps us humble – it keeps us dependent on the Holy Spirit – it keeps us from being lead away by sin.

APPLICATION: Repent

1 John 1:9 (ESV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Apostle John makes an amazing statement, saying that when we confess what we know about God will take care of things that we don’t know about! If you want to see God MOVE in your life, make the first move.

CONFESS

REPENT

HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE YOUR GOD!

24
Mar

Day 2 of Prayer & Fasting

The urgency to repent

Matthew 4:17 (ESV)

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Today’s devotion picks up where we left off yesterday.  Since the beginning of his ministry, Jesus made the call to REPENT his central theme.  The reason is because Jesus can not be your savior if you don’t confess that you are a sinner in need of saving.

This call to repentance was for everyone.  From sinners to the so-called saints like the Pharisees and scribes of Israel.  EVERYONE needed to return to God and the good news is that the journey wasn’t that far.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, meaning that it’s at your finger tips.  All one must do is reach out and grab a hold of the love and grace of God in humility.

Application:

This kingdom life is at hand because the King has come near to us.  Continue to ask God reveal to you any area that still needs to be handed over to the Lordship of Christ.  Jesus just can’t be your GOD, He needs to be the LORD your GOD, the one who calls the shots.

Every kingdom has a structure and order that has been established by a King.  When you surrender, you don’t lose.  Instead you place yourself under the care, protection, and provision of this Warrior-King who along can give you true life.  This is all at your fingertips.  Surrender you life and receive it today!

20
Mar

The Lost & Found

Week 1

Text: Luke 15:1-31

Topic: Love, Grace

Main Idea: After hearing the religious leaders grumble about His attitude toward sinners, Jesus tells three parables that illustrate God’s extravagant love for the lost. This text teaches us that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done or how undeserving we feel; God is actively pursuing us to come back to Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. How did Jesus’ attitude differ from the religious leaders’?
  3. What characteristics of God’s heart are being revealed here?
  4. Have you ever experienced God’s pursuing you? How did He do it?
  5. How did you go from being “lost” to being “found”? In other words, how did you become a Christian?
05
Mar

Mission Sunday 2017

Text: Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 12:29-31, 2 Timothy 4:2

Topic: Service, Community, Discipleship, Missions

Our Mission:  We exist to raise, restore, and release others into a new life in Jesus Christ because human souls are the most valuable commodity in God’s economy.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. What are the commands in these passages? What are the promises?
  3. Do you know anyone who doesn’t go to church or doesn’t know Jesus personally? What can you do right now to help them come one step closer to becoming a disciple?
  4. Someone reached out to you and showed you Jesus in order for you to become a believer. Who was it? What happened?
  5. People are watching our lives, looking for a reason to accept or reject the faith we claim as our own. Is there anything in your life—even if you think it’s hidden (it’s not)—that would cause someone who is on the fence to reject Christ?
27
Feb

The Connections

Week 4

Text: Acts 2:41-47, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Topic: Community, Fellowship, the Gospel

Main Idea: We were never meant to do life alone. Being a Christian is about more than becoming a church member; it’s becoming a member of God’s family.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. Why do you think God chose to identify as a family (as opposed to a business model, for example) when He constructed this system?
  3. What is one reason why many Christians become isolated?
  4. How has the body of Christ affected your life?
  5. Do you know anyone who is estranged from his or her spiritual family? How might God use you to bring them back into fellowship?
  6. Have you ever been hurt by the church? How can we keep ourselves from hurting other people?
  7. How can we pray for you?  pastortito@tddtampa.org

 

20
Feb

The Guide

Week 3

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

Topic: Transformation

Main Idea: Before Christ enters our lives, all of us are spiritually dead. But God gives us new life, a life that is for His glory.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. What are all the “before-and-after” statements Paul lists in this passage?
  3. How can we be sure we have been born again?
  4. If you could sum up your life before Christ and now with Christ in one before-and-after statement, what would it be?
  5. Is there anything in your life with Christ that you wish were farther along in the transformation process?
  6. How can we pray for you?  pastortito@tddtampa.org
13
Feb

The Conflict

Week 2

Text: 1 John 1:5-10

Topic: Authenticity

Main Idea: Walking in the light, in right relationship with God, requires walking in authentic relationship with other believers (vs. 7). It means being open about our failures—to God and others—rather than just trying to save face (vs. 8).

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. What does this passage reveal about God’s nature?
  3. Why do some people hesitate when it comes to authentic accountability?
  4. How have you experienced the truth that this passage talks about?
  5. Is there anything you need to bring to the light right now?
  6. How can we pray for you?  pastortito@tddtampa.org