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Pastor Kurt Steinbrueck

Blessings!  Our mission is to intentionally go into our community to connect with and love people with the Gospel that they may be transformed into fully devoted followers of Christ by the grace of God.  We would love for you to be a part of our family.

 

 

Contact Pastor Kurt

Kurt@FamilyofChristTampa.com
813-326-5255

Pastor Kurt’s Blog

Praying With Jesus: Waiting…

Yesterday was one of the most important days of the church year when we remember Jesus’ death on the cross. Tomorrow is another important day, Easter, when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. But today…

We wait.

But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:7)

Waiting isn’t easy. Today, we expect to get everything fast. Amazon is shipping same-day now. The new Boom Supersonic plane will soon be flying people from New York to London in a little over 3hrs flying at 2.2x the speed of sound. In places with gigabit internet connections, you can download a 2hr HD movie in 25 seconds.

We want things fast and when it takes too long, we tend to lose our patience. When I worked in online marketing, the rule was that if a web page took longer than 5 seconds to load, people would start leaving.

On the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, we wait. In prayer, we often must wait, too. God isn’t Amazon or Boom Supersonic or an Internet provider. He doesn’t work on our time table hoping to have a satisfied customer. He follows His own timing and we must wait.

I’ve spoken with people who told me that yesterday they prayed for xyz and God didn’t answer their prayer. God did answer their prayer, though. He always does. However, His answer may have been that they needed to wait.

It’s not easy, but it is for the best. It reminds us that we are the created making requests of our creator. It also teaches us to trust God and His love and wisdom, both in how He answers our prayers and when.

We know God’s will is good, His ways are wiser than ours, and He loves us. We can trust Him to always answer our prayers. We can also trust how and when He acts. So, we can join Micah in saying that we will look to the Lord and wait for the God of our salvation, knowing He hears us.

Heavenly Father,

It can be difficult to wait, but I know Your timing is better than mine. Help me to be patient and to wait on You.

Amen

 

In Christ,
Pastor Kurt

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Praying with Jesus: Not My Will, But Thine

We want what we want, but that’s not necessarily what is best either for us or for others. Are you willing to submit to the will of God when you pray?

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” -Luke 22:42

I’ve got a long list of things I pray for. I pray for healing. I pray for safety. I pray for wisdom. I pray that I’d be able to pay the bills each month. The list goes on. These are all my will. Even when praying for others, I’m praying that my will be done for those people (like they would be healed or protected from all harm).

My will is not perfect. My will can be selfish. But God’s will is perfect.

Jesus’ prayer in the garden was not an easy one. He knew what lie before Him, the horrible suffering He was about to endure; but He trusted the Father’s will. He knew the Father’s will was perfect and loving, even if it was difficult.

As those called by the Holy Spirit into faith, our desire is that our will would be more and more like the will of the Father and that even when our will differs, we would be willing to submit our will to the Father’s will.

Heavenly Father,

Your will is good and perfect. Sometimes, my will differs from Your will. When it does, I submit myself to You. May Your will be done, even if it is difficult. And may my will be more like Yours every day.

Amen

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Praying with Jesus: Praying in Secret

Sometimes we pray for others while we are with them.  Sometimes we pray together in a worship service.  Sometimes we pray together before a meal or in family devotions.  Sometimes, though, we pray by ourselves, alone…in secret.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6

This verse reminds us of a few things. One is that prayer isn’t a show. We aren’t praying to impress people or God. Also, sometimes it’s good to get away from everything to pray, so we can pray without distractions. Another is that God sees what we do in secret.

We may read that as a scary thing. Uh oh! God knows that bad thing I did the other day, even though know one else saw it. This is true, of course, but the implication of this passage is positive. God sees the good things we have done that no one else knows about. In fact, in another verse Jesus tells His disciples that when they fast, they shouldn’t make it obvious to others that they were fasting, but go through the day like everything is normal. God would know they were fasting. And God hears us when we pray in secret. God knows the desires of our heart, our hurts and our joys, the things we don’t share with anyone.

This doesn’t mean that we should never pray in public, but rather that God doesn’t want us to make a big show of our prayers. He simply wants us to go to Him and pour out our heart…Share our struggles. Confess our sins. Share our triumphs. Ask for help. Pray for others…just between God and us. He hears us and He answers our prayers.

Heavenly Father,

You know my heart. You hear me when I pray, even when no one else knows. Thank You.

Amen

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Praying with Jesus: Strong Enough Faith?

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

Yesterday, we looked at how we can ask God to help us when we struggle to believe. This verse speaks to another reality as well…whether God responds to weak faith.

Some people have made the claim that if we have super strong faith, God will do super amazing miracles, but if God doesn’t do what we asked it was because we had too little faith. The Bible tells us otherwise. This father had little faith, but Jesus did a big miracle in driving the demon from the boy.

We can ask God for all kinds of things, big and small, amazing and ordinary. God’s answer, whether it is to do what we asked or not, comes from His grace, mercy, and love, not as a result of whether we have enough faith to earn God’s action. Even with faith the size of a mustard seed, the Bible tells us we could move mountains.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for hearing our prayers and answering them, even when our faith is weak. Lead us to what we should be praying for. Embolden us to ask, as a child would ask a father they know loves them dearly.

Amen

In Christ,
Pastor Kurt

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and follow us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/FOC_Tampa

Praying with Jesus: I Believe. Help My Unbelief

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

These are the words of a father desperate for his demon-possessed son to be made well. He had just watched the disciples fail time after time for hours trying to drive out the demon and now Jesus was there.

His belief was waning, but now Jesus, Himself, was there and Jesus asked the boy’s father if he believed. He wanted to. He really wanted his son to be healed, but he also had serious doubts.

I love the father’s honesty. He didn’t try to fake it and say that of course he believed. He also didn’t just accept his doubts. He asked Jesus to help him overcome his doubts and unbelief.

Sometimes when we pray, we have doubts about whether God can or will help. We don’t need to try to fake it with God…it wouldn’t work anyway. We can ask God to help us to believe and overcome our doubts. God doesn’t despise those who have to ask for help believing. Rather, He helps us to overcome our unbelief.

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I struggle to believe. I doubt You are listening. I doubt You can help the problem or maybe You just won’t. Help me to believe. Help me to overcome my doubts. Thank You that I can come to You even with these kinds of struggles and know that You listen and respond with grace and mercy.

Amen

In Christ,
Pastor Kurt

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You can also find us on Facebook…

https://www.facebook.com/FamilyOfChristTampa/

and follow us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/FOC_Tampa

Praying with Jesus: Then You Will Call On Me

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” – Jeremiah 29:12

Suffering isn’t fun.  No one really wants to go through a tough time.  But sometimes we need to.

When this passage from Jeremiah was written (it was in a letter from Jeremiah), the Israelites had lost the promised land and been sent into exile.  Not fun.  And in vs 10 God had just told the Israelites he wasn’t getting them out of exile any time soon.  They would be in exile for 70 years.  This would be hard.

But why were they in exile in the first place?  They had turned away from God and turned to worshiping false gods.  That is worse than exile.  God needed to get their attention and do so in a way that would last.  God was working to turn the heart of Israel back to Him.  The tough pill to swallow is that the exile was for their own good.

There is another famous Bible verse that God said right after telling the Israelites they would be in exile for 70 years:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes God lets us go through difficult times because we need to remember who He is and turn back to Him.  The wonderful news is that He will hear us when we call out to Him.  He is there the whole time working His plan for our welfare, for our future and hope.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, call out to God.  He will hear you.  If life is pretty good right now, don’t forget the God who has blessed you.  Continue to turn to Him…He will hear you, too.

Heavenly Father,

You are wiser than I am.  You are good.  When things are going well, it can be easy to forget to come to You in prayer.  Remind me.  Help me to always remember You and turn to You.  If I do start to drift, bring me back to You, even if that means I have to suffer some.  Being Your child is more important to me than avoiding suffering.  Thank You that You considered having me as Your child more important that the suffering You faced at the cross.

Amen

Praying with Jesus: Praying for the Lost

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” – Ephesians 1:18

Today was my son, Eli’s, baptism. I’ve always loved baptisms because of the promise God gives us that through baptism He will give us saving faith. It’s a victory over satan! God has brought another person into His kingdom!

The Scriptures tell us that faith is not something we achieve, but rather it is a gift, a work of the Holy Spirit. That’s one reason we baptism infants. Since the gift of faith is God’s act, He can give faith to a child just as well as an adult.

Interestingly, when thinking about evangelism and adults, we tend to forget that it’s God who creates the faith. We get all worked up about saying the right thing as though if we say this word instead of another, it will determine whether the person receives faith. Even in adults, it’s still all the work of the Holy Spirit which is why it makes perfect sense for us to start with prayer.

In this Ephesians passage, Paul is saying that he is praying that the “eyes of [their] heart[s] would be enlightened”. In other words, he is praying that they would received faith so that they would know the hope of Christ. Since it is God who gives faith, shouldn’t we pray for those who don’t know Him to receive faith? Absolutely!

This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to bother talking with the people about Jesus. After all, the Holy Spirit works through the hearing of the Word. However, we begin with praying for the people. Then we share the Gospel. Then we keep praying.

Who do you know that you could be praying for? I encourage you to pick 5 people who you know that do not believe in Jesus and start praying for them every day that God would open the eyes of their hearts to receive faith.

Heavenly Father,

You are our source of life and salvation. Thank you for the gift of faith. I know several people that do not believe in You. I pray that You would give them faith. I pray for these five people in particular…

Please give them faith and please give me the opportunity and boldness to share the Gospel with them.

Amen.

In Christ,
Pastor Kurt

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Did You Know?

You can also find us on Facebook…

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Praying with Jesus: The Secret Prayer to Get Whatever You Want

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11

Have you ever asked God for a million dollars? How about a new car or a different job? I have. Did you get it? I haven’t either. Or maybe you’ve asked Him for something much less extravagant, but still haven’t received it.

Maybe it was because you weren’t praying this super-secret prayer that will insure God gives you everything you could ever ask for.
 
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After doing a bunch of research I’ve discovered that this prayer only exists on April 1st.  The truth is God doesn’t just give us whatever we want.

It can be frustrating. The apostle Paul would understand. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul writes that he had a “thorn in his side.” He doesn’t go into detail about what that thorn was, but he does say that he asked God 3 times to remove it and God refused. God told Paul His (God’s) grace was sufficient.

In Matthew, Jesus asked whether parents would give their kids a stone when they asked for bread or a snake when they asked for fish. Of course not! He followed that to say that God, our Father, knows how to give good gifts, too, when we ask. However, as Paul discovered, God’s good gifts aren’t always what we ask for or what we want.

God knows what is best for us and that is what He gives us.  Sometimes a million dollars would hurt us in the long run or draw us away from Him.  Sometimes we need to stay in at a job we don’t really like so we can minister to someone there.  Who knows?  Well…God does.  And that’s why He gives the gifts that are truly good.

Heavenly Father,

You are the giver of all good gifts. Thank You for taking care of me. Thank You for listening to me. Help me to trust Your goodness, even when Your answer to my prayer is, “No.”

Amen.

In Christ,
Pastor Kurt

Praying With Jesus: Change My Heart

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

Why do we pray?

Are we asking God to help us? Are we trying to manipulate God into doing what we want? Do we just want to talk to our Savior in thanks and praise?

The truth is we probably have prayed for all these reasons at one point or another. But here’s something to consider. Prayer is less about us trying to change/persuade God and is more about us being changed by God.

When we pray, by definition, we are admitting that we can’t handle things on our own. We must humble ourselves and remember who is the source of all Good things. Often times, God’s answer to our prayers includes changing us. After all, if prayer were just about getting God to do what we want, we would be making God more like us and that wouldn’t be good. Instead, we seek to be transformed by God to be more like Him. Then, as He acts, we can see that His will is better than ours. His will is good and pleasing. His will is perfect.

Heavenly Father,

I have many needs and desires. I pray that You would provide for my needs knowing that You are the giver of all good things. I also pray that You would make my desires to line up with Your desires. Change my heart, oh God. Transform me that I might see Your will, which is good and perfect.

Amen.

In Christ,
Pastor Kurt

Youth Program Information Meeting

Sunday, April 9th after the late service we will hold an informational meeting for both Middle School and High School Youth.

  • Learn about upcoming activities and events
  • Share what you would like to see in the youth program
  • Discover how you can get involved

Youth, parents, and adult volunteers are encouraged to come.

Pastor Kurt

“Growing our faith and friendships and putting that faith into action.”

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