This past weekend I was fortunate enough to take part in the thousand toy give away at the River at Tampa Bay church. This was the second year that I was able to participate in this event and let me tell you what an event it was. I arrived on the property at 7 am on Sunday December 13, 2009 and people were already here waiting for the toy give away. I could see the excitement in the children’s eyes as they stood there in line dreaming about what they were going to do with their new toys. It was such a blessing to me because you usually don’t see that kind of excitement around the church anymore. As time passed during the morning the crowd grew larger and larger. As I stood outside looking over the crowd I couldn’t help but be touched because I saw all different colors and races of people getting along. There was such a peace in the mist of all of the “confusion”. There was no strife, and usually there would be when different races get together. It was a beautiful thing. It was all about the children.
Another thing that I loved about this day was that yes we gave out toys to bless all those in need, but before they received anything they had to hear the word of God. We all know that Gods word cannot return void so some people (349 people to be exact) ended up receiving more that just toys they received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I have been a part of out reaches that just bless the community but they don’t preach the word to them. To me that is like giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish for himself. People learned how to bait their hooks this week and who knows what they will learn next week. Overall I thought Sunday was a raging success but it was just a warm up compared to this week Glory to God!
Before the sun broke through the eastern sky or the morning fog lifted, the River Church at Tampa Bay was alive with excitement. Tables being set up, toys being organized, groups of 40 meeting here and groups of 50 meeting there was the 6 am order. By 8am, charter buses and RMI vans were zooming through the streets of Tampa, Florida picking up eager men, women, and children for the Sunday morning main event hosted by Pastors Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne and their River Church team.
As we approached 9:30am, hundreds packed the auditorium and lifted their voices toward heaven in adoration and praise to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Many were touched by His glorious presence as the words of Jesus, delivered by Pastor Rodney, rang true in the hearts of the people. Tears of joy and shouts of freedom declared deliverance, healing, and salvation throughout the congregation as the hearers opened their hearts to receive the powerful, life giving truth that is only found in the living Word of God. The words, “Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me of my sin…” echoed from wall to wall as 349 of the 1335 people in attendance opened their hearts to the King of Glory, Jesus Christ. Moments later, dozens were empowered by receiving the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The day was capped with the rear parking lot of the River Church being flooded with a sea of children receiving free Christmas toys. Children ages 0-16 went home with bikes, toy trucks, stuffed animals, dolls, make-up sets, board games, and the like. Smiles on faces and joy filled laughter were the order of the mid-afternoon.
As hundreds journeyed home that day, their hearts turned to next Sunday as many began to look forward to our next meeting here at the River Church and their new found family and home.
This class was very informative not only intellectually, but supernaturally. It taught us about family values; for husbands and wives, your children and siblings. Pastor Adonica even touched on dating for the younger group. Really, this class is telling how we should live as born again Christians and the attitudes of heart we should have.
I learned that obedience is better than sacrifice. Pastor Adonica said that if we really love God, then we obey him. It is so funny how God works, the Holy Spirit had been telling me to start getting up at 5:30 every morning to spend time in the Word of God. Then after the time in the Word of God,
I knew I was supposed to start jogging. I had just begun doing that a few days before this class started
and was already reaping the benefits. Then this class just confirmed that no matter what the Spirit of God tells you to do, do it!
It was taught that God speaks to your heart, not your head. One of the most common words used for heart is “interior organ”. The number one most used is “center of who you are”. God speaks to this organ, because it is the center of who you are! Pastor Adonica said that scientifically the heart is just like a second brain and to think all it does is pump blood! If you don’t listen to your heart, you stress your body out. I remember when I was a child my father told me once that all a heart does is pump blood to our body. I can’t wait to tell him this! Hebrews 4.12
Rodney Howard Browne bringing Revival to Louisville KY