Day 1 | Monday, January 7
OUR Nation’s LEADERs
“Pray for every political leader and representative.” I Timothy 2:2 (TPT)
Timothy was placed as a pastor over the church in Ephesus which the Apostle Paul founded. Paul passionately urges Timothy, his son in the faith, to make prayer a priority. He encourages Timothy to pray for all men (and women). In fact, he specifically mentions praying for those in authority.
At that time, Christians were being persecuted by the godless Emperor Nero who was on the throne, yet the believers were still expected to pray for this evil leader.
This principle teaches us that regardless of our opinion of a man or woman in authority we are required to respect the office they hold and pray for them.
In fact, it is for our own good that we do so, “so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts.” (1 Tim. 2:2)
Let’s not let political parties or agendas keep us from obeying God’s word. Let’s pray today for those in governing offices on every level.
Here are some areas to consider, although there are many others you can include:
· Our President and Cabinet
· Governors and State Legislators
· Community Leaders
Day 2 | Tuesday, January 8
the good deposit
“By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
2 Timothy 1:14
Can we be honest? Relationships are hard! Often times, none harder than our relationship with the Church. But even in the hardship, we must remember that the Church, the believers around us, are the good deposit from God.
What we see when examining 2 Timothy 1 are certain prayers that Paul prayed for Timothy. We see where Paul thanks God for Timothy (vs. 3). We see Paul’s prayer and encouragement for Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” (vs. 6). We see where Paul prays for Timothy to rely on the Holy Spirit to “guard the good deposit entrusted to [him]” (vs. 14).
Today I encourage you to use this prayer as an outline in praying for our church leadership; our pastors, staff, deacons, and our Dream Team. Pray for every leader, that they would fan into flame the gifts of which God has given them. Pray that our pastors, deacons, and staff will rely on the Holy Spirit as their strength and guide in every decision that is made. Pray for wisdom, character, and discernment for them to “guard the good deposit entrusted to [them].”
Finally, take time today and pray for your leaders by name, thank God for them. Thank God for your pastors and those leaders who serve alongside you on the Dream Team. Today, thank God for the good deposit He has entrusted to us!
Day 3 | Wednesday, January 9
Best if used by: TODAY'S DATE
"For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life as the ransom price in exchange for the salvation of many.” Mark 10:45 (TPT)
Ever find something in the fridge and you think, “Man, I haven’t seen this in a while?” You look for the "best if used by” date to see if it's still good. One day you made a decision to buy it, excited for the day you would enjoy it, thinking about the dinner you will serve it with. Then you placed it where it needs to go in the fridge thinking about that day but … it just sat there. Got lost in the clutter. Things came up, plans changed and you never went back to it.
Our time to be used on this earth only expires when we leave this earth, but our “best if used by” date starts today. Yesterday’s gone. Tomorrow’s not promised. But today is the day the Lord has made. He has a purpose for your life to impact other lives. Ever hear the phrase "like your life depends on it”? My prayer is that we take this year and live as though lives depend on it. Our lives, our children's lives, our families, people we know and people we don’t know yet. Pray like lives depend on it. Fast like lives depend on it. Love like lives depend on it. Serve like lives depend on it. Dream like lives depend on it. Hope like lives depend on it. Let's wake up every morning and ask God to use us in a life changing way for someone else... as if their life depended on it. Whether we feed someone that’s hungry or love on someone that’s battling depression. The Jesus in you is the best ingredient someone needs in their life.
Today’s prayer focus is on reaching our community. Will you join us in praying for The Legacy Center, Kingdom Builders and all the other ways we make an impact on our city? Our staff and leadership will be praying today from 12pm-1pm at our Glendale campus. Also, our Midweek Prayer service is tonight at 7pm. Join us for a special time of prayer, worship and communion. Let's not let another day go by. Today is your "best if used by" day.
Pastor Jordan Durso
Day 4 | Thursday, January 10
bring the children
“They brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them” Matthew 19:13 (NIV)
When a man of nobility or prominence was present in ancient Jewish culture, it was customary to bring the children to him to be blessed. The words of a man of prominence were known to come to pass.
Manasseh and Ephraim were bought to Jacob and received a blessing that would ultimately become their destiny. Jacob and Esau were blessed by Issac and his blessing became their life fulfillment. It’s no wonder that the parents in Matthew 19:13 “…brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them” (NIV).
As this year begins, let’s bring the children to the King! Entrust them to his prominence and providence. Jesus’ intentions towards the little children was always to speak blessings over them as he prayed for them. We should do the same. Let’s speak blessings over our children in prayer. As we do so, let’s also pray for the adults that are most influential in their lives: their teachers. Then extend our prayers to their entire school communities. If you have a school yearbook or a class picture, use it as a symbol to lay your hands on as if you are laying your hands on every child, teacher and staff member in that school and pray. Pray for them by name. Let’s end the time of prayer by praying for their safety. Let’s stand on the promise that they “will be blessed when they come in and blessed when they go out. The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against them to be defeated before them. They will march out against them in one direction and flee from them in seven…” Deuteronomy 28:6-7
Day 5 | Friday, January 11
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)
When Apple Inc. experienced some difficult days, Steve Jobs, the young chairman, left Silicon Valley and flew to New York City to meet with John Sculley from PepsiCo. Jobs’ objective was to get Sculley to leave PepsiCo and run Apple. Sculley’s reply to Jobs:”Financially you would have to give me a million dollar salary, a million dollar sign-on bonus and a million dollar severance package.” Although flabbergasted by his response, Jobs agreed. Even then Sculley would only commit to being a consultant in New York. Jobs then issued a challenge to Sculley “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?”
This piercing question caused Sculley to take a long look at his comfortable life and pension at PepsiCo and ask himself what compelling purpose he was living for. Sculley joined Jobs at Apple and did change the marketplace forever. More far reaching than an impressive company like Apple, is the global impact that a Resurrected Savior has had for over 2,000 years. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus declared to his 11 disciples “All power has been given to me in heaven and earth, Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
For over 3 decades, Christ Tabernacle has been faithful to reach the lost. We are strategically planted in New York, a city with a population of 8.6 million people. In New York City alone, many nations of the world’s people are represented. Pastors Maria and Michael Durso have had a sustainable sense of urgency in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our world is hurting and divided. Despite materialism and impressive technological wonders, many feel empty and alone. The heart of God is broad and His love is for an entire world.
I encourage you to consider 3 things today:
1. Vision isn’t ignited by automatic pilot.
2. Sustainable urgency is cultivated intentionally.
3. Beware of losing the sense of the urgency of the Gospel for the lost.
What do you want to do with the life God has given you?
Do you know that we can change the world?
With prayer and a passionate witness let us strive to reach the lost with the love of God. Vision propels the Mission. Momentum keeps us on track. Urgency keeps the main thing, the main thing!
Love you all,
Day 6 | Saturday, January 12
Civil Servants: Police Officers, Firemen, and our military
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)
As a member of the FDNY, I could be at the firehouse drinking a much needed cup of coffee or sitting down to eat dinner with my men when the alarm goes off and “the Call” comes in. When it does I drop everything and respond! Why? Because like so many service men and women in our military, EMS, Police and Fire departments that’s what we do! Some join solely for the benefits they receive. However most join because they believe in the mission! They want to help people in their worst and most desperate moments. They want to rush in as all others run away! They run towards the danger so that others might live!
What I want to encourage you to do today is to answer God’s call in your life. What is Jesus “calling” you to do right now? Give your whole heart to him? Forgive the one who has hurt and offended you? Join growth track and get involved in ministry? Go on a missions trip?
While these are not quite like going to war, making an arrest, triaging a patient or putting out a fire, they are struggles. They are challenging! My encouragement to you is to face these Head-on!!
Captain John White of the LAFD, a great man of faith and the founder of Firefighters For Christ, would say “just show up, allow God to use you and see what He will do!”
Would you join us today in praying for our military personnel, EMS, Police and Fire Departments? Pray that God would grant them wisdom, courage and safety as they perform their duty to serve others.
And let us be encouraged to answer God’s call today!
Day 7 | Sunday, January 13
a nation in need of prayer
“Ransom Israel, O God, out of all his troubles” Psalm 25:22
David begins Psalm 25 with a desperate cry to the Lord for protection from his enemies. He asked God to spare him from defeat and shame. He asked God not to remember the sins of his youth and all his rebellious ways. He asked for forgiveness although his iniquities were great.
Every Saint has a past he or she does not want God to remember (He does not). Despite all the verses that address his needs, David ends the psalm with one verse that addresses the needs of the Israelites. He wanted God to take them out of their troubles. The very thing he wanted for himself he wanted for his countryman. Shouldn’t it be the same with us. What we want for ourselves we should want for our country. Although the many sins of our nation may never be forgiven or forgotten by society and other countries, God is the one who truly forgives sins. Nineveh repented when their country was so dark and God forgave them. (Jonah 3:10).
No one calls the shots concerning our nation but God. He tells us to pray for the nation we live in (Jeremiah 29:7). David asked for nothing short of a revival. So should we. As influential as he was David did not think he could redeem his country by words or deeds. He could not save himself. Thus, he concluded, he could not save Israel. Why would we think it’s any different for us. God said He would intervene when we pray. He made us responsible for our nation and promised to help us as we engage (2 Chronicles 7:14). We will certainly be victorious as we pray for our nation.
Day 8 | MONDAY, January 14
Hey Christ Tab! Congrats on making it through the first week of our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I pray that through this time you’ve been able to slow down, listen, and hear all that God has been wanting to speak to you.
Before I dive into today’s thought, take 3 minutes to watch this clip.
Some time ago, at the end of a message, Pastor Durso showed us this powerful closing scene from the film: Schindler’s List.
In summary, we see a man who was greatly used to save many Jews from being exterminated under Hitler’s rule. In this closing scene, he also dramatically expressed that he could have done more, even if it was just for “one more.”
As I think about our 2019, our church calendar and the personal divine appointments God will orchestrate over the course of this year, let’s pray today that God would continue to use us as a church and his disciples to reach people who don’t know him.
Craig Groeschel is known for saying “we will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ.”
How would our praying, serving, giving and leading change if we operated from the premise that every single thing we say and do in Jesus’s name is a contribution to our mission of reaching the lost - “one more” person who doesn’t know Christ?
Let this be the year, we see hundreds of people born again by faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let this be the year we see hundreds of people faithfully gather as the local church to worship Jesus.
Let this be the year we see hundreds of people go through Growth Track.
Let this be the year we see hundreds of people participate in Small Groups.
Let this be the year we hundreds of people join Dream Team and begin fulfilling their purpose.
Let this be the year we see hundreds of children, middle schoolers, high schoolers and young adults grow in wisdom, stature, favor with God and people.
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents...”
Let’s help make HEAVEN HAPPY!
Day 9 | TUESDAY, January 15
A CRY FOR HELP
“Go, gather all the Jews… hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days... I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 ESV
Have you ever faced a situation where you were unprepared, scared, and death seemed imminent?
In the book of Esther, we see how a little encouragement helps Esther take a stand and how she rallies her community to stand with her in the face of certain death.
Haman was determined to eliminate all Jews. Their death warrant was signed. This was a seemingly hopeless situation, but Esther didn’t start planning funerals.
Willing to put her life on the line, she cries out for help. She gets backup as she asks her uncle to rally their community to FAST and PRAY with her and for her.
With the help of the Holy Spirit she advocates for her people. And, in an unlikely turn of events, the King ultimately protects Esther and, Haman’s order to kill all Jews is canceled.
Why? Because the people gathered, fasted and prayed.
Some of you might be facing certain death - the death of a dream or a marriage. Maybe it feels like a death warrant has already been issued for your joy, your hope or your purpose.
Fear will lie and say your situation is hopeless. Pride will say you shouldn’t ask for help. But can I encourage you with truth? Scriptures show us the power of community and instruct us to trust God with all our cares. Friends, our prayers are effective. And those death warrants? They lose their power when we gather, fast and pray!
Would you join us today in our prayer focus of praying for our upcoming Small Groups season? Our prayer is that people would find a community of people that can help them find freedom and grow as believers. We want people to know that no matter what they are facing in life, they are not alone and that we are truly better together.
Small Groups Coordinator
Day 10 | WEDNESDAY, January 16
In Matthew 9:35-38, we read the story of Jesus traveling through different cities and villages teaching, preaching and healing every sort of illness. In the midst of this He sees a particular multitude and was overwhelmed with compassion for them because “their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help.” Allow me to point out several things here that will help us pray today not only for current leaders, but for the development of future leaders as well.
First, although this multitude was made up of people with lots of problems and issues, Jesus still goes on to call them “a harvest,” looking beyond what they were and seeing what they could be. I am so glad that Jesus sees potential in everyone. He also points out that which is missing and could hinder this process. That is, the workers; people that could help lead this multitude to fulfill their purposes in Christ. There simply are not enough of them.
“The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples.
Jesus not only identified the problem, but gave a solution as well. He told them to pray and ask God to send more workers, or leaders that could help lead others. So go ahead and pray for our current leaders today but understand that there are just not enough of them to get the job done. We need more.
So I also encourage you to pray for more workers to step up, workers that could be trained and developed to become leaders that could then in turn help those in need. I also encourage you to ask God what steps you could take to become the leaders and the worker of the harvest that He has called you to be.
I am so glad for our Growth Track and Dream Teams as well as our Small Groups that are constantly striving to become leadership developers. Pray for them, pray for workers, pray, because the multitudes are waiting.
I want to personally invite you to our Midweek Prayer Meeting tonight at 7pm. Thousands of people across our country will be tuning in as we host the ARC Prayer Day tonight with Pastor Durso speaking. It’s going to be a special night in the presence of the Lord. Don’t miss it!
Pastor Frank Lorenzo
Day 11 | Thursday, January 17
“Now, these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11–13 NLT
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul reminds us that growth doesn’t happen in isolation. In fact, he stresses the church itself only grows when each member allows Jesus to use them for the growth and benefit of the entire body. Paul states that unity is a direct byproduct of a church that participates in the constant building up of one another.
We operate at our best when we all do our part to encourage, train, and build one another up in the faith. How has God gifted you? How can you use it to build the body? These are the questions we must ask ourselves if we are to see our community flourish and grow into the church God is calling us to be. Answering these questions can at times be difficult. But as we pray, consult the scriptures, and find ourselves in community, Jesus will surely reveal how he has called us to build his body.
Today, as we pray for our Next Generation and the ministries at our church who serve them (Tab Kids Jr, Tab Kids, & Misfit NYC), let us also ask God how we can each participate in the building of his body here at Christ Tabernacle.
P.S. To keep posted on any service updates in the event of inclement weather:
Text SNOWALERT to the number: 718-831-6480
Day 12 | Friday, January 18
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14
The world believes true freedom is when I get to serve myself and live my best life. But Jesus revealed that true freedom comes when one lays down their life for another. The apostle Paul is letting us know in this text that Love is what is being asked of us at all times.
My question for you is, what would this world look like if we truly did as Christ commanded? What would our own community look like if we sought to serve others and love others as ourselves?
The good news is that we are a part of a church that gives us this opportunity every week! There are people that serve in the Legacy Center Friday Market Place and Maria Hernandez park for “Feed Somebody Monday”. They are people that are living out this one command and doing it unashamed and courageously as they live in true freedom.
Let our prayers today be focused on all who serve and give their time and energy to love on our beautiful community as well as the community that is being served. This year our church will be hosting ‘Serve Days’ where we gather as a church on a Saturday and impact our community on a very practical and local level. I encourage you to begin to pray about setting aside this time to come together with your friends and family to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community. I challenge you to also ask the Holy Spirit for the same boldness and courage to jump in to what God wants to do through the hands of the men and women who call Christ Tabernacle their home!
Day 13 | SATURDAY, January 19
JESUS IS THE ANSWER
28 “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. 29 Simply join your life with mine.” Matthew 11:28-29 TPT
Think about the hundreds of people we pass by daily: whether it be on the train, the bus, the highways, the supermarkets, in schools and the shopping malls. Each one of those people are experiencing life in different ways but all need the same thing – to be seen, heard, healed, a longing to understand their purpose and to fill that purpose. This scripture just resonates with the answer to our needs and that is: SIMPLY JOIN YOUR LIFE WITH MINE. Everything we need, desire and long for begins and end in Christ. Once we receive the revelation and begin to walk in it, it frees us from being the SOURCE. We can look to Christ to be our peace, our joy, our freedom, to reveal to us our purpose and to direct us as we fulfill that purpose. He is the Source.
As we move in that knowledge, nothing will remain the same. People will see the difference and ask us why we have so much joy, love and peace in our hearts. This would be our opportunity to share that the answer is – Simply join your life with Jesus; He will give your life meaning.
Todays prayer focus is church growth and I want to encourage you to see past the idea of just filling a building with people. Lets move into being so concerned about the people around us embracing the freedom that we have found, the love we are experiencing and the hope that we wake up with every day that we shout from the roof top – I SIMPLY JOINED MY LIFE WITH HIS! When we praise, worship and pray today, let’s call each family member, neighbor, school teacher by name and believe that God will continue to draw them unto Him – that we will see others simply join their lives to HIS.
Day 14 | SUNDAY, January 20
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
I remember the first time I realized that sacrifice was God’s love language, it changed everything for me. It changed the way that I read the Bible, prayed to God, lived for Jesus and led in ministry. What I learned is that it’s not so much about what we do for God but HOW we do what we do for God. In everything we do there needs to be sweet surrender to completing our God-given assignments while keeping the Joy of The Lord upon us. There’s this unusual, beautiful story in the Old Testament of our Bible. It’s a story about these four lepers who can’t stay where they are any longer and decide to put their fate into the unknown.
“They said to each other, ‘Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.” 2 Kings 7:3-4
In this story, where they were represents complacency and “the city” represents secular living. They say “we can’t be complacent or turn our backs on God, our best bet is to surrender to the enemies.” Now I know what you’re thinking “who would think that surrendering to their enemies would be a good idea?” but when someone gets a crazy idea like this and it works, you know it has to be God. And that’s the thing, IT WORKED. When they went to their enemies’ camp, God already had gotten rid of them. They now had a camp all to themselves with food, shelter and wealth – that’s only something God can do, but God did after they surrendered to His plans. If you’re wondering where we’re headed as a church, we’re headed to “where no eye has seen or no ear has heard” and the only way we’re going to get there is by a continual surrender to the Holy Spirit.
Today as we pray for the future of our church, please join me in praying for the wisdom and the ability to continually surrender to what may not make sense to many, but are actually the plans of God. We have an amazing Sunday planned for you, make plans to join us at one of our 6 Sunday services across our Glendale or Bushwick locations.
Glendale: 9am // 11am // 1pm
Bushwick (en Espanol): 10am // 12pm
Bushwick (English): 6pm
Pastor Chris Durso
P.S. To keep posted on any service updates in the event of inclement weather:
Text SNOWALERT to the number: 718-831-6480
Day 15 | MOnday, January 21
TOGETHER WITH ALL HIS FAMILY
Hey Church fam! We are in the home stretch of our 21 days of prayer and fasting. Congratulations on making it this far! We believe this will be a week of breakthrough for you as you finish strong this week.
“…a devout man of extraordinary character who worshiped God and prayed regularly, together with all his family. He also had a heart for the poor and gave generously to help them.” Acts 10:2 (TPT)
Acts Chapter 10 details the story of Cornelius. Cornelius, a Roman military officer, was a man of extraordinary character; devoted to worship, prayer and fasting. He did all of it together with his family.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Cornelius and instructed him to send for Simon Peter.
Later in Chapter 10, we see that Peter agrees to meet Cornelius at his house in Caesarea. When Peter arrives, he is met by Cornelius who has invited all of his relatives and close friends to hear Peter’s message. Here again, we see Cornelius’s heart for his family and loved ones; that they would know God and worship him.
This is the message Peter preached: Jesus Christ crucified for us. Not just for the Jews, but for everyone. In that moment, in Cornelius’ home, the Holy Spirit fell upon many as they received Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Jewish men who were traveling with Peter were astonished that this gospel, the Good News of Jesus, transcended race and culture. Truly, this gospel is for ALL PEOPLE.
Our prayer focus today is for families, marriages and strong relationships. I pray that we would seek the Lord like Cornelius. I pray that we would be devoted to prayer, worship and fasting and share ‘why’ with our families. I pray that we would take our families on the journey with us and that God would give us boldness to openly share the Good News about Jesus.
I think about Cornelius’ posture before the Lord, and I believe it positioned him for God to speak. Will you take time today to posture your heart like Cornelius did and do it together with your family?
Day 16 | TUESDAY, January 22
GOD'S LOVE COMPELS US
“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.” John 13: 34-35 (TPT)
In John 13, we learn that Jesus dearly loved His disciples to His very last moment on earth, before leaving this world to be with the Father. Even when Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, and Peter would deny knowing Him, Jesus took the opportunity to love and serve them. He demonstrated how we should love one another in a way that is not self-fulfilling.
Each day as we go about our daily routines, we all interact with people. It may be at work with co-workers, at school with classmates or at the coffee shop with a close friend. In these relationships there may be a co-worker who likes to gossip about other co-workers or a close friend who betrays you after years of friendship. These interactions may lead us to distance ourselves, and not be as kind, loving or joyful as we should be.
If we’re not careful, we can easily miss opportunities to demonstrate God’s love and servant’s heart to those we interact with each day. Regardless of how difficult the person or situation, being caught up in our feelings and not in what God loves will cause others to question if we’re true followers of Christ.
Today as we pray for our co-workers and friends, let’s ask God to give us a love for others like never before. A love that would compel us to share the Gospel with everyone, regardless of his or her manners or intellect. (Romans 1:14),
May the Lord help us do as He commanded in John 13:34-35. That we may love ALL people the same way that He loved us.
Day 17 | Wednesday, January 23
REACH GROW TRANSFORM
“Then [Jesus] said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)
When Jesus made this very famous statement, “take up your cross and follow me”, he was plainly breaking down for us what we have been called to do. He knew that we would spend our time striving to find ways to please him, while simultaneously striving to figure out our individual purposes. The statement “carry your cross” actually translates to “carry out your God given purpose for Jesus”. We, as a church, have a beautiful three-part cross to carry.
We’re called to reach the unsaved people in this world.
We’re called to help grow the saved people of our church.
We’re called to transform our community.
So every time you hear one of the pastors or members of Christ Tab say “Reach, Grow, Transform”, they’re speaking about our cross and the daily responsibility we have as Christ followers. When you intentionally begin to devote your days to reaching, growing and transforming within the local church, you’re taking up that cross which Jesus speaks of.
Will you join me today in praying for God to help us, individually and as a church, to reach, grow, and transform inside and outside of the four walls of our church?
Pastor Chris Durso
P.S. To keep posted on any service updates in the event of inclement weather:
Text: SNOWALERT to the number: 718-831-6480
Day 18 | THURSDAY, January 24
A MESS FOR SUCCESS
“The only clean stable is an empty stable. So if you want the work of an ox and to enjoy an abundant harvest, you’ll have a mess or two to clean up!” Proverbs 14:4 (TPT)
The things that are most desirable to us will almost always carry with them certain inconveniences. For example, when a married couple decides to have children, it leads to all kinds of obligations, sacrifices and inconveniences. Similarly, many of us desire to have lives that are orderly - we love for our houses to be clean and presentable, our schedules to be kept, to always be on time, and our bank accounts to always be balanced. Unfortunately, when things are not as orderly or as neat as we’d like, the consequences may be difficult for us to handle.
This same desire can also be mirrored in our churches today. We love to have churches that are very tidy, neat and clean. We love seeing the people we know, hearing the songs we like, and living in the familiar. We can even fall into the false perception that the people who make up the church must also be the same. The problem with a church with “messy free” people is that we find that our church communities don’t grow and eventually fall apart. We may develop a great looking church on the outside but no one would want to show their true brokenness, confess their sin, or show their weakness in humility.
This verse teaches us the dilemma the farmer has – on the one hand, he loves a clean barn but at the same time wants a large and productive harvest. He is going to have to conclude that having a successful farm requires that he let his barn “get a little messy”. The church must also take similar inventory of its goal. We must never make “neatness” our goal as a church community. It should be a place where God can accomplish His plan thru ordinary, “messy” people.
We are praying for you today, in the midst of your mess that God would grant you health, finances and wisdom. No matter what you’re facing today, know that He is on your side and the victory has already been won!
In addition, as a church community, we must always welcome the less fortunate, the needy, the “messy” if we desire an abundant harvest. As we enter 2019, let us be reminded of our calling to continually REACH the lost, GROW the believer, and TRANSFORM our communities.
Pastor Gil Hernandez
Day 19 | FRIDAY, January 25
PRAISE PRECEDES THE BREAKTHROUGH
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Often times when we are visited by hardship or struggle we pray for spiritual breakthrough. We feel so far from God. Thankfully, intimacy with God does not require a series of breakthroughs. Once we come into salvation, intimacy with God is for the taking. We don’t have to work our way to it, rather it’s God’s desire to meet with you and me on a daily basis.
There are seasons of spiritual highs and lows. There will be seasons of beauty, answered prayers, divine insight, and unimaginable joy, but this should not be the substance of our relationship with Jesus. If we only focus on going from high to higher we will miss the beauty and purpose of the valley where God works deep in our heart. It’s in the valley where our faith really gets tested. It’s in the valley where we fully examine our hearts and motives. God does not promise we will be exempt from pain; on the contrary he tells us adversity will come! During hardship our prayer should be that our eyes are opened to the goodness of God even in the struggle. This can only happen when you have a fighting spirit. Even in the midst of trials and hardship you have to put your stake in the ground and choose to trust and obey!
My friend Henry Seeley said this line one day and it was etched in my heart instantly and has continued to be a source of encouragement to me, He said, “Praise Pre SEEDS (precedes) the miracle.” So can I ask you now what are you planting and watering in the spirit today? Are you planting faith, hope and love? Or are you planting doubt, negativity, bitterness or anger? We have free will to choose how we will behave in this season.
As a church, my prayer for us is that whether we are in a high season or low season our hearts would be open to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. We would be a people who, regardless of our stage in life, see the awe and wonder of God. We would appreciate the mountain top seasons and we would learn and trek out the valley seasons. The thought of breakthrough suggests a preceding struggle that finally peaks and finds resolution. During this time God is with us and we are not alone. He promises NEVER to leave or forsake us. We can hold on to that for every walk on this journey. That our hearts would not grow weary as we remain patiently waiting on God.
Pastor Yahris Durso
Day 20 | SATURDAY, January 26
Refresh Your Personal Vision
If there was ever a book in the Bible that challenges us to refocus our personal vision, it’s the book of Philippians. It’s as though it was New Years for Paul and he is reflecting on what’s important and what is not.
In Philippians 3:10-14, Paul states his New Year’s resolution and how he is going to achieve it.
1. GOAL: Philippians 3:10
“I want to know Christ”. That is Paul’s priority. The only way we get to know someone is by spending time with them. We should want to get as close to Him as possible so we can be imitators of Him.
2. ASSESSMENT: Philippians 3:13a
“I know that I have not yet reached that goal” In other words I’m not perfect. “Perfect” in the Greek doesn’t mean Flawless. It means “Complete, Mature” Paul is saying, God hasn’t squeezed all the anointing out of the fruit He is growing inside of me YET!
3. MEANS TO ACCOMPLISH THE GOAL: Philippians 3:13b
“Forgetting the past and pressing towards what is ahead”. Forget means to no longer be affected or influenced by. Paul is saying I can’t keep pressing the rewind button. The words “press on” are very aggressive words in the Greek associated with a hunter. The words “press on”, “take hold”, “press towards” carries the idea of an intense endeavor to pursue, track down. It’s the picture of an outdoorsman determined to hunt down his prey and not come home empty handed. Paul is on the hunt for the “high calling” and he knows in order to accomplish this goal it takes utmost concentration. He also knows that a hunter must be focused otherwise the hunter can become the hunted.
In 2019, may we press on to our high calling in Christ Jesus.
Pastor Maria Durso
Day 21 | SUNDAY, January 27
PRAISE, THANKSGIVING & REST
“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” Psalms 34:1 (NIV)
EXTOL. PRAISE. BLESS. Coming out of a life threatening situation, David makes a deliberate decision to EXTOL his Lord. And, notice, not sometimes, not most of the times, rather at ALL TIMES!
His praise will ALWAYS -- on every occasion, without exception -- be on my lips.
Surely after our 21 days of humbling ourselves to fast, we all could sing this verse for God kept us; He lead us and He satisfied us.
Jonah, while entombed in the belly of a whale declared;”But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.” Jonah 2:9
If Jonah could give thanks in his situation, surely there is no situation we may find ourselves that should keep us from giving God thanks.
Rejoice, not because this is the day we break our fast, but because He has heard our prayers:
“Since the first day...that you humbled yourself before your God, your words were heard”. (Daniel 10:12)
There is no better promise to conclude our 3 weeks of fasting. Today as we all gather in His house with His family in all our services, let us enter into rest with Praise and Thanksgiving.
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