The River church in Tampa lead by Pastor Rodney-Browne has been making tremendous impacts in its surrounding communities. Pastor Howard-Browne, a man chasing after God, has put into play various programs to penetrate the communities of Tampa. Some of these programs are the weekly food drives, the bus ministry that started out with a couple of vans, which currently running almost a half-dozen charter buses, the toy drive for the holiday season , and the daily gospel outreach. The reason that these programs have been so successful is because Pastor Rodney and everyone else in the church has seen and grasp how important it is to reach the people of Tampa. They have see how God has impacted and changed their lives, and want to share it, they understand that we as followers of Christ, have to get out into the streets and share the love of Christ. This is why the altars on Sunday morning are being filled. The people of Tampa are seeing people who actually care about them and their salvation.
This past week Pastor Rodney hosted Operation Raven at his church. The turnout was amazing. Family upon family showed together on Sunday morning to take part in this massive outreach. Food and toys were given out, but most of all, over three hundred and forty men, women and children gave there hearts to the lord. This is what is at the center of every event at the River. It’s to see people come to know the love of Christ and build a relationship with him. Currently the river has seen over seventy-three thousand decisions for Christ in the past year. That is why the River at Tampa bay is making a difference. They keep true to what works when it comes to reaching people, love.
The fifteenth of December was a Sunday I will always remember. I was doing bus ministry and even though it killed me to get up early I did it with a smile. All because I love getting on the bus (or van in my case) and picking people in the community up for church. It is such a blessing to me to see so many people waiting on the side walk just to get a chance to come to church. I love the fact that even if I don’t remember a persons name or even their face, they always remember me and I love picking the people up that I do know giving them a big hug and telling them good morning. This Sunday we had a big turn out for our Christmas outreach, after I was done with the bus ministry I worked in the nursery, we had more kids than I have seen in there, which proves that us going out in the streets and the Christmas outreach is truly reaching the people of Tampa. It is funny how much you can actually learn from children, sometimes more than you can from adults. Most of the children are so happy to have you hold them or play with them, and it is because they do not always get that at home. I know I’m blessed to be able to give them the love they crave. The children were so excited to be with us, it was so much fun to be able to watch over them and care for them. After service I was back on the bus and it just melted my heart to see the children coming off the bus with a big smile on there face and full of energy, all because we were able to bless them with a Christmas present. We do not always know the impact our good deeds will have on others, but seeing it play out in front of me is a blessing I thank God for, and would not trade it for anything.
Great Awakening Tour City #20 North Miami Beach, Florida
About four months ago I had a very strong inner witness that I need to share the Gospel script with my friend Kevin.I had been a friend to Kevin for about five years and over the last couple my walk got stronger with the Lord and Kevin didn’t understand how a person could want to spend so much time at church I had invited him a few times but never did he. He lived about one hour from the church I attended one afternoon. pastor preached about the urgency to tell friends and family about Jesus. So the Lord put Kevin on my heart I asked him to meet me for lunch and he did that day. I told him I was not leaving until he prayed the script with me and he did accept Jesus. Then one week later was killed in a car accident in Lakeland, Florida.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 KJV
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Ephesians 6:12 AMP
God created you to be free and live free. Even now, His plan for you is to be free—in your spirit, in your soul and in your body. None of us is born into freedom—we are born into the bondage of sin. Sin exalts itself against the truth of God’s word and habitual sin is a stronghold in your mind. The key to your freedom from bondage and demonic strongholds lies in your obedience and submission to Christ.
The enemies we face in this life are not other people, but the devil and his demons. His ultimate plan is to kill you and send you to a lost eternity through sin and disobedience. If he can get you to take others with you, if he can get you to destroy other lives, he will do it. He doesn’t care what you do as long as the end result is eternal death—eternal separation from God. The greatest lie of the devil is that your freedom lies in following your own impulses and lusts. He is there to tempt you and to drag you down into the gutter of sin as far as he can. He knows full well that the wages of sin is death. The devil’s plan is to get you so tied up in sin that you cannot break free—to erect strongholds of sin and rebellion in your mind that keep you in bondage and drive you deeper into sin and death.
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13 NKJV
Sin is a deceiver—it is never satisfied—it is like a fire that cannot be quenched. Once you start on a particular path of sin, you will find that you are always drawn in deeper and deeper. Sin comes to harden your heart and pull you away from God—His protection and His blessings. When people—even Christians—yield to sin and make it a way of life, their heart becomes harder and harder and they move further and further away from the Living God. You are either both moving toward God, and freedom, and away from sin and bondage, or you are moving away from God and freedom, and toward sin and bondage.
The more you yield to temptations, the more you lose control of your own life. Sin is ruling and dominating you more and more. It’s a slippery slope. As you yield to sin and fleshly lusts, so you are yielding yourself also bit by bit into the control of the devil—all the time he is gaining more and more dominion in your life. You find yourself at a place where you are powerless to stop on your own—you need divine intervention! The devil’s plan is to defile God’s special creation—Man—so that he can possess and control them. Because the devil is a thief, even after you give your heart and life to Jesus, he is trying to tempt, deceive, control and destroy you. The devil wants to live in your house, but God says that you are created to be the temple of the Living God!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMP says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own].” You have been bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus and you owe Him your life. The devil has no right to try to move in to a house that already belongs to God! Verse 20 goes on to say, “So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” You have an obligation to yourself to keep your house pure and clean. When you honor God, you keep the devil out!
God gives us armor for protection and weapons to fight the good fight. The weapons of our warfare are not weapons we can see, hear, touch, taste or smell—they are not man’s weapons—they are spiritual weapons. Our armor is truth, integrity, righteousness, the reality of the Gospel, faith, and salvation and our weapons are the Word of God and prayer. God’s word is a blueprint for a life of freedom and joy—now and in eternity. We can each choose this freedom by choosing obedience to God, His word and His way.