This is day 1 of our 21 Days of Prayer, Fasting, and Personal Devotion. The first day was on Sunday, March 26th and we will celebrate on the last day, Easter Sunday, April 16th.

Welcome to the daily devotion! Each morning you will get an email just like this one with a devotion to ponder throughout the day. Today is the fist day but it is also a Sunday. That means the devotion will come from me in the pulpit but here is what you can do to fully hear it.

Come to church asking God to speak a word directly to you. Ask him to highlight one passage from the Bible or one phrase from a worship song or the message. Write it down. When you go home, get alone with God and ask him what you are supposed to do about this message he brought to you.

This will not only get you some clear instructions from God, it takes what is happening at church and inserts it directly into your life. This is the perfect way to start what God is going to do in your life during this 21 Days of Prayer, Fasting, and Personal Devotion.

Starting Sunday, March 26th, we are entering into 21 Days of Prayer, Fasting, and Personal Devotion.

There is a spiritual momentum happening right now and you don’t want to let this miss it. During this time of consecration, people will receive clarity and insight regarding their walk with God. We will also see people break free from the confusion that can block the clarity to make healthy, Christ-centered decisions.

There are three aspects of this 21 days:

1. Prayer – Prayer is simply talking with God. During this season we are making time alone with God a priority.

Time alone with God is an invitation into the treasury of heaven. The longer you spend there the more your spirit man is aligned with heaven’s prosperity. These experiences with God stamp your mind with the truth of God’s will establishing new pillars of truth in your life.

As you exalt these truths in your life they provide a framework of God’s will in every area and give a place of dwelling for the presence of God in your life. They create an atmosphere of faith that causes everything in your life to develop along the God path you have been called to.

2. Fasting – Fasting is to abstain from food and drink. Fasting can energize your prayer life and transform it into a richer experience.

As Jentzen Franklin says, fasting conquers “King Stomach.” You may not be an over-eater, but all of us can be ruled by the passions of our flesh. Fasting tells your body that it is not running the show any longer and that you are going to live out of your spirit man.

When you fast together with your spiritual community, you will find that your efforts are multiplied. You will feed off the breakthrough of others and they will feed off of yours.

The most traditional fast is the water fast, where you only drink water for a period of time (normally 1 to 40 days). But there are many others. The goal is to be comfortably uncomfortable. There are many types of partial fasts that limit food intake and lengths. I would challenge you to totally eliminate a normal pleasure from you diet for the entire 21 days as a base. Then prayerfully consider what short-term fasts you may also conquer.

Fasting can easily slide from being an act of consecration into a religious badge of honor and that would defeat the whole purpose. Don’t try to earn something from God. Don’t brag to other people. Don’t ask them about their fast. Let it be between you and God. Our general rule of thumb is, “If it means something to you, it will mean something to God.”

3. Personal Devotion – Personal Devotion is turning your heart toward God on purpose. It is making a decision to look toward God with reverence, worship and service.

During these three weeks you may want to cut out distractions from you life to focus on the most important things. You can call it a personal priority reset. Instead of zoning out while staring at your phone, you may want to be still before God. Instead of flipping channels for three hours you could instead bless your spouse, children, or parents. Instead of buying a new outfit you give money to someone in need. You could watch a single mother’s children so she can shop or cut an elderly neighbor’s lawn.

Most importantly, you want to do whatever it takes to keep God on your mind as you live your life.

Finally

Each day I will post a devotion for the day here on my blog. you can sign up to have it emailed to you using the form on the right.

I have updated the fasting resources on our website. You can find them here.

Whatever you do, commit in your heart that you are going to seek God during this time.

February 14, 2017

Marriage Resources

This past Sunday my wife and I shared some wisdom we have gained through 17 years together and countless hours of pre-marital and marital counseling.

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before — and After — You Marry

We use this for pre-marital counseling but it is probably better for couples that are already married. Lots of pre-marital counseling is wasted on dating couples.

 

 

Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries

Everyone should read this. Regardless what your marital status is.

 

 

 

 

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

Again, are you really married and have not read this book? do it now. Also, take the free test from the link below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage

There are needs you are scared to verbalize. They did it for you here.

  • I continued out Pray in tongues more than you do right now. Seriously. No, I won’t get into a bible argument with you about it. 14322548_1576828812623748_3271527263371387881_n
  • Don’t ever argue with people concerning the modern validity of tongues, prophecy, miracles, healings, apostles and prophets. If they refuse to believe the bible, chances are very slim they will listen to you.
  • We continued our A Living Hope message series through 1 Peter yesterday. I rarely teach through a book of the bible. I am mostly enjoying it. This way brings challenges but it is so fruitful as well. I have always loved the writings of Peter and wish we had more of his writings to study.
  • Here we are in the New Covenant and folks use the same weights and measures from the Old. We really aren’t in that covenant any more. That can be scary because now people have choices. But you really can trust Holy Spirit.
  • Here is an example. 1 Peter 1Open Link in New Window the apostle tells us to be holy. 1 Peter 2Open Link in New Window he first defines holy behavior through the lens of how we treat people. That is a radical departure.
  • I have met a whole bunch of people that were so holy nobody wanted to be around them.
  • That is not holy.
  • The photos from service recently have been amazing. Anya and her team is killing it!
  • Friday night we lead a time of prayer at Covenant Centre. Check out some pics here.
  • That was a great time with Pastor Norman Benz. He is such a gift to south Florida.
  • Our dog has been super sick. I never thought I would write that. I even asked people to keep her in prayer. My wife took her to the vet this morning. She is getting much better . . . I think.
  • I went for a ride this morning with Chris for some breakfast on Las Olas. It was a little windy but nice ride. I remember when lots of folks were riding. Those were the days, 10 months ago.
  • Keep us in prayer about our offices and mid week location.
  • Visited the Pagano Life Group last night. So good!  Had some great conversations with some people that God is doing amazing things in.
  • That’s it for now.

Sitting here on my day off watching the Vuelta a España. I missed the first two stages but it is a great ride right now. I rode this morning but it was nothing like a pro rider.

13932846_10210258169235697_5892120056865699944_nI finished up our Living Stones message series yesterday.

Preaching is a funny thing for me. God gives me a pretty clear picture of what He wants me to communicate. The problem is that what God is talking to me about is in the midst of a conversation we are having that other people don’t have privy to.

That means I have to recreate the conversation within the context of a biblical framework and present it within  a series of independently coherent 40 minute gatherings. In the end it is more about shepherding a crowd than teaching a class. At least, that’s how it works for me.

Though if you got nothing else from the message understand that your meditation becomes your manifestation.

I have a hard time talking with people who will not own their part in their situation. At the very least you can take ownership of getting involved in the solution.

(I just watched the end of the Vuelta. I don’t understand how these guys can accomplish what they accomplish. )

A few more random thoughts:

  • Super happy about Intro to Revival Life
  • I got great Life Group reports from last night’s meetings
  • Did you do your declarations this morning? If not you can find them right here.
  • The message from yesterday is up. Here is the link. The Key to Fulfilling Your Call.
  • We start our new message series through 1 Peter this Sunday.
  • It is beautiful outside today. I hope I get under the sun at some point.

Screenshot_2016-08-20-11-12-11My alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. this Saturday morning and I was super tired. It took all of my willpower not to hit snooze. We had some people over last night and I stayed up a little later than I wanted to but I knew I needed to get up.

I knew that if I got out of bed and out the door that I was setting myself up for a more successful day.

After my ride I was spent but I knew I was farther down the road to full recovery from my recent illnesses.

Now, pumped full of endorphins I am taking on the day.

August 19, 2016

How I Use Social Media

Social media platforms come and go and as their popularity waxes and wanes I normally follow the crowd. Jesus went to where the people were and today, they are on social media platforms a good portion of the time.

Below are a list of social media platforms I use and what I use them for. I don’t use every popular platform because some I can’t figure out (looking at you Snapchat), and others revolve around a culture I could never fit into.

That being said here is the list:


facebook:

Facebook is the public square. For much of the world facebook is still the king of social media. What’s interesting is that my teenage children have no interest in it.

I use facebook for things I would say in a public place.

  • Where the family is vacationing
  • Where the wife and I are having a date
  • Theological thoughts I would say from the platform
  • Encouraging messages
  • Links to things I write

Crazy how pastors get hyper critical with other pastors and hyper grace with their favorite political party.

Posted by Carl Thomas on Thursday, August 18, 2016

 

I just looked, I have almost 1,700 friends and 257 followers on facebook (it says I have 97 friend requests right now). Very, very few show up in my feed. I limit my feed to either friends who are living for God (don’t post crazy stuff) or people I admire and don’t constantly post links to their “ministry resources.” I am probably the most active there because it has the widest broadcast. Everything I post here also goes to Twitter.

Most likely to follow: People I live life / worship with, ministries and organizations I regularly interact with.
Most likely to unfollow: Angry people. Slanderous people. Anyone posting unclean pics. People I don’t ever see in real life.
Number I follow / Number of friends:  40? / 1,695 + 257

My profile: https://www.facebook.com/pastorcarl
Revival Life Church page: https://www.facebook.com/RLCRevivalLifeChurch/

Twitter

Twitter is like a newspaper and I have gone through seasons with the site before finally making my peace with it. Right now I see very little conversation and more broadcasting. That means you better follow folks you don’t mind reading and have no expectation of feedback.

I post and follow more sports stuff here than on facebook (CyclingHub, Ray Maker, Ira Winderman). I also follow reporters, politicians, ministers, and some folks I know in real life. I unfollow some folks in facebook but follow them here. It keeps my fb feed fresh. The limitation of tweets keeps the posts compact there.

Additionally I purposefully follow some folks. I follow Religion News because that is the line of work I am in. I follow Terrormonitor.org because it keeps the persecuted church before my eyes and it reminds me that there are people with real problems out there.

Everything that gets posted to facebook gets posted to Twitter but not everything posted to Twitter goes to facebook.

Most likely to follow: 2 categories 1) People I know in real life posting interesting info not posted to facebook. 2) People who post about things I am interested in.
Most likely to unfollow: folks I don’t find interesting. (it’s not you, it’s me)
Following / Followers : 70 / 474

My profile: https://twitter.com/carlthomas

Instagram

Facebook is the public square. Twitter is the newspaper. Instagram is a friendly chat around the water cooler.

This is where I post the most. I post gardening stuff, pics from workouts, family snapshots here. Unlike the other sites, Insta makes me happy.

Thursday Starbucks tradition with the girl.

A photo posted by Carl Thomas (@_carlthomas) on

Everything that gets posted to Instagram goes to Twitter. I only crosspost some things to facebook.

Most likely to follow: People in my immediate circle, or an athletic folks that inspire to move my body.
Most likely to unfollow: Folks I don’t know, stop coming around, or if their pics get “colorful.”
Following / Followers: 85 / 371

My profile: https://www.instagram.com/_carlthomas

Strava

Strava is a social media platform built around cycling but now includes running and swimming. All my workouts go here. I only follow people I know in real life (shout out to circuit riders), do group rides with (shout out to ZMotion Camp Cove) or one or two professional athletes.

I have been pretty inactive here for the last month as I fought some illness but I am back at it!

Most likely to follow: Folks I ride with and exercise regularly
Most likely to unfollow: People who stop working out / move away / post pics of something other than workouts.
Following / Followers: 36 / 42

My profile: https://www.strava.com/athletes/9591331

Other Sites

YouTube: The profile I post to has all the videos hidden because they are for a specific audience. I have old channels but I don’t even think I use them. I still follow folks on YouTube but there is nothing social about it. However the church uses it extensively.
RLC Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RevivalLifeChurchTV

Snapchat: I have it, have a really hard time remembering how to use it. I only check my daughter’s snaps cause she is so funny. Would not even know how to give you a link.

Pinterest: I use this as a shopping list at times. I haven’t used it in a very long time.
My profile: https://www.pinterest.com/revivallife/

LinkedIn: Don’t use it. Please don’t send me requests.

flicker: All my Instagram pics automatically get copied here. I never go there.

Vine: Nope

VK: I don’t go to Europe much but you never know.
My profile: https://vk.com/carlthomas

I use various forums for hobbies and interests. Way to many to list.

Did I miss anything?

We had a packed weekend at my friend Norman Benz’s church Covenant Centre International this weekend. Saturday night we were with Heidi Baker and Will Hart.

13934867_10210189126269666_6770205448965402652_nAnyone who knows me I don’t celebrity worship. I especially don’t worship Christian celebrities. In short, there really is nothing they can do for my life to make it any better. They aren’t going to pay my mortgage or grow my church or make me feel better about myself by meeting them or them telling me they love me. I have watched people I love chase celebrity and it never ends well.

That being said, some of the people I hold the highest respect for are celebrity Christians. These folks are well known because lots of people hold them in similarly high esteem. Some of these people know me, others don’t.

Heidi Baker is in the second category. We have had conversations and prayed together but there is no way she knows who I am. I still try to attend her meetings whenever I can.

As she came on stage Saturday night I almost immediately got on my face. I had no idea I would be there for the next hour and a half. It was not my plan. I just could not get up. Trust me, I tried. I had to go to the bathroom so bad but it all seemed so futile.

Nevertheless I got completely rocked by God. As I was laying there I was getting a look back at impossible things God has told me to do and then He began to add to the list. I could not stop it.

At the end of the meeting Will Hart, who is one of the nicest guys you could meet, prayed for Tracey and I and it was like getting his by a wrecking ball.

Sunday morning I was still overwhelmed by the Spirit. At the very end of service I prayed for anyone who felt called to vocational ministry and it was so powerful!

I got to see my hero Randy Clark last night and today I am finally healed enough to start training in earnest.

Have a great week!

What an amazing service we had yesterday at Revival Life Church.

I say that a lot but it is always true. We have a group of leaders who exercise their faith as they lead the service. We are regularly checking to make sure we are not going through the motions.

look thereThat is the beginning of religion. I don’t suppose there is anything inherently wrong with religion it just doesn’t connect people to God. When you gather to know God and make Him known that is a problem.

So at the end of worship we went after God and He flooded the room. At the end I was laid out on the stage having an amazing vision of the interaction of two angels in the room. It was amazing and I was getting rocked.

On one hand I was thinking, “I am leading this meeting. What will people think if I am laid out on the stage? I really should look more responsible.” On the other I was thinking, “Wow! Massive angels. Can’t get up! Who just ran past me? Stuck to the ground. Power going through me.”

Once we got things back in order / the Lord lifted His hand, I began to share my message.

Overall I think it was good. I taught about we, “as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood.” It was a fairly basic message that I hope blessed some folks.

Bottom line: God cares about our every basic need, and it’s not about us.

soundboardHere is a cool part. We had communion at the end of service. We practice an open table, meaning that anyone who has been converted to Christ can come and receive. I then told folks that if they aren’t qualified to receive the Lord’s table, they can come and give their life to Christ and receive with us.

Then two people did!

Boom!

Between the kick off of Intro to Revival Life, amazing presence, salvations and a good looking preacher, I don’t know if the day could have gotten any better…until.

Later last night we hosted life group. At the end, Tracey and I ministered some amazing breakthrough to some folks. We were ready to end the day exhausted, but satisfied. Then our plumbing decided that it no longer wanted to work.

I spent the evening digging up my yard looking for my septic cleanout only to find it, and not be able to open it. So this morning I am calling a plumber. No bueno.

Before we went to Mexico, several of us were getting some pretty bad spiritual warfare. One of the ways I was affected was that my insomnia went into overdrive. Because of that I couldn’t work out for almost a week before we went.

13880118_557458324459702_1343355547336388531_nAfter being gone for a week I came home with some brand new health issues which has kept me from working out all this week. Today is the first day I feel like I can get an easy exercise time in but it is raining. If it stops I will go for a walk with my wife.

By the way, here are some great pics our friends in Mexico took of our time there.

This past week we moved out of our offices. I spoke with Corey just to hear again that we are following god. He assured me we were. Even after all these years, that helps.

Not renewing our office lease has some other effects though. For the first time in a really long time we don’t have morning prayer tomorrow. I plan to pray but not at the office. I guess I now have time for a Tuesday morning breakfast meeting.

hmmmmmmm

We are talking with the school about Friday nights. I don’t think it is the best plan but it is better than many other options.

I will be working out of my home office for the time being. This little room is packed! I have to get some more shelving or something. I am just thankful we have the space. There was a time that my office was in my bedroom. Thank you Jesus for advancement.

Other random thoughts:

  • God is adding some really cool people to our church.
  • We are starting Intro to Revival Life this Sunday. Great to get that off the ground.
  • My Carolina Reaper and Ghost pepper plants look great. I will post some pics to instagram tomorrow.
  • My tomatoes are not looking so hot (they have not gotten enough water).
  • My Cayenne needs some love. I want to repot it tonight.
  • I finally restrung my Takamine
  • I am super excited about what God is doing among us.