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Carl Toti

What Is Your Victory Formation?

It’s football season and there’s something that a team will do at the end of the first half or the end of the game, it’s when the quarterback takes a knee. When a quarterback takes a knee, what is he doing? It’s called the victory formation, especially at the end of the game. If your quarterback is taking a knee, then that means you’re running out the clock because you already have the game in the bag and you’re just waiting to celebrate! And if you think about it, that victory formation, as they call it in football has deep theological meaning for us a Christians. 

Paul the Apostle said in Ephesians 3:14, “…for this cause I bow my knee…” What does it mean to bow our knee before the Lord Jesus Christ? If you ever watch any of those medieval movies, Vikings on the history channel, anytime someone was pledging their fealty to the king they would bend the knee. One of the most important, most empowering positions for us in life is for us to bend the knee. To bend the knee before the Lord Jesus Christ and to pledge your fealty, our love, and our devotion. To pledge our sword, our life to Him and His cause.

A few years back, there was a craze in our country called “Tebowing,” right? After Tim Tebow would score a touchdown, he would take a knee in a symbolizing his humility before God and thanking God for giving him that touchdown. You know in life I think we could learn some powerful lessons from taking a knee. At work when everybody else is taking credit, you can be the person that before God, you take a knee, because you’re showing your humility and your dependence on God. When others are taking sides in a controversy, our best response is to take a knee as Paul said, “for this cause I bow my knee before the Lord Jesus Christ.” I don’t think there’s a more spiritually empowering moment in our life than when we bow our knee before the Lord and we express our dependency and our humility on him. You know maybe things are going a bit difficult right now for you in your life. Maybe in your life, in your marriage, in your relationship, even with the Lord. Maybe your relationship with your kids, your friend, with a co-worker and sometimes we stand too tall in our own strength. We need to remind ourselves that our ultimate and utter dependency is upon God and you know what if we humble ourselves before Him, He is faithful and just to empower you, to bless you, to elevate you, to lift you, to promote you. 

We all know this don’t we, that in the kingdom of God, the way up is the first the way down. So what’s your victory formation today? What’s your victory formation every day? I hope we can learn from what the Apostle Paul said and the many great men and women of God in the Bible who are our example on how they would bend their knee and bow their heart before God and when they did no matter what opposition, no matter what circumstances, no matter what battle, no matter what attack, no matter what the enemy was trying to do to get the best event, when we bend our knee and bow our hearts and continue to pledge our fealty to the Lord Jesus Christ, you are in the victory formation.

You’re God’s Best

-Carl

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What Is Your Mentality?

Today I want to talk to you about why size matters. If you’ve been to a beach, and you see that massive body of water it’s always an experience to get into the ocean and you know that when you’re in the ocean, there are some really big creatures inside of that ocean. You step into their world. You don’t know what’s in there, you don’t know what’s down there, and it’s not a very comfortable feeling being in that large body of water. You know I heard something once, that a fish will grow based on the size of an aquarium that it’s placed in. So big ocean, big fish, small ocean or small body of water, smaller fish. The size of the aquarium restricts the growth of the fish. There is certain size of fish in a pond, lake, or ocean. You know what comes to your life and my life we can be in an environment that’s restricting our growth. You could be in a school right now that’s limiting your expansion and your growth. You can be in a relationship, or you can be in a job, you could be in a church, that expands your possibilities for growth or restricts your opportunities for growth.

So I guess the question is what type of aquarium do you find yourself in today? One of the things the environment, the places that you may be in or you may be frequenting that’s, restricting your growth. Your expansion, breaking out, breaking free, becoming everything that God has intended you to be. We need to make sure that we are intentionally placing our self in growth zones, growth environments, situations that challenge our thinking, places that challenge what we believe to be true about God, about the world, about ourselves. We need to be intentional. Intentional about putting ourselves in growth zones. God wants your aquarium, to be enlarged! He doesn’t want you to be in a fish bowl. He doesn’t want you to have a fish bowl mentality. Now I know many times in life, we start out in a fish bowl and then maybe we graduate to a pond, and then to a lake, but hopefully, we’ll all end up in the vast ocean of possibilities of what God can do in you and through you.

You know I’m thankful for every church. You know the every church that lifts up Jesus and preaches the word and preaches Christ of course, but I am thankful for small churches. You know the average church in America is like 80 to 150 members so, God bless every Pastor and those that serve in small churches. You’re the backbone of the body of Christ globally around the world. But one of the benefits of being in a larger church and remember every large church started off as a small church, so give credit, give a shout out to small churches. Don’t miss understand what I’m about to say, one of the benefits of being in a larger church is that you’re exposed. Your thinking, your view, your perspective can be enlarged by the people that are attending and serving in a larger church. I’m thankful that even though you may be a small city or maybe going up to a community college, you can still allow your thinking and your life to be challenged, be expanded through reading, through seeking out mentors and others, situations and people that can help challenge and help you grow. But I’m also excited about Trinity Church! I’m excited about this new season that we’re in!

I’m thrilled that starting this Wednesday night, we are launching a new emphasis on spiritual growth and development. You know, on the weekends at Trinity, we can worship together, but on Wednesday nights we can begin to grow together as a church! We’re going to have so many opportunities for everyone for spiritual growth and development. We want to expand our aquarium. We want to enlarge the place of your habitation. We want to challenge your thinking and your beliefs. Sometimes we know we have disempowering beliefs that we have picked up along the way in life. We want to get you out of your aquarium thinking, out of your pond thinking, and we want you to begin to think BIG thoughts, thoughts that God has for you and your life. So really I am pumped, I’m thrilled, I’m excited about all that’s going to be offered, starting this Wednesday night for men, women, for young people, from A to Z based on your interest, based on your need, we’re going to have something for you. So remember, on the weekends, we worship together, but on Wednesday nights we grow together. And we want to create a growth zone and a growth environment that will help take you to the next level that God has for you! Size matters. So think not with a pond mentality, but with an ocean mentality! Think God’s thoughts that He has for you, and I hope to see you not only this weekend but starting tomorrow Wednesday night at Trinity Church! It’s going to be an exciting new season, this fall!

You’re God’s Best

-Carl

The By-Product Principle

What is the by-product principle? Certain achievements and individual attainments in life are acquired and are the result of focused pursuit. Often, it’s the unseen unintended results of unrelated actions or the by-product that allows us to achieve and attain things that are meaningful to us in life. For example, when it comes to things like success, happiness, or changing something in our life that we no longer want to put up with. Usually acquiring success happiness and change, doesn’t come from us pursuing it directly but it’s the by-product of something else. It is the by-product principle. Take for example success or the achievement of success. Usually, success doesn’t come because we’re striving to reach a certain level financially. Success is a by-product of excellence hard work dedication patience, and it’s the by-product of putting more important things first place in our lives.

Jesus said in Matthew 6.33 (NKJV), “33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

So if we’re seeking after success, it’s always going to be elusive, but if we’re seeking after honoring and pleasing God, then God’s Word says God will add that to us. Happiness. Well, how do you define happiness? What is happiness? What is the pursuit of happiness? Well, we all know happiness is elusive the more you try to pursue this feeling of happiness the less happy you’re going to be. Here’s what we know, happiness is a by-product. It’s the by-product of putting others first in your life. It’s the by-product of living our lives according to what we value. Most importantly according to what God values, that what God values becomes our values. When we align our lives around what we deem as valuable, we begin to live a life of integrity. One of the things we should value is putting the needs of others in front of our own needs. Happiness is wanting to help those who are hurting right now in Houston. As we serve and give, as we do our part in trying to alleviate the pain and suffering in someone else’s life, what will be the by-product of that? We will feel better about ourselves, and we’ll be happier. When it comes to change, how do we acquire change? How do we see certain things in our lives change? We can go after those things, but it’s the by-product principle as we get focused on living a more whole, complete life after God’s standards and values, and we begin to pursue living the way Christ intended. By following the example and teachings of Christ, low and behold, the byproduct principle is once we focus on positive, productive things and doing better things in and with our life the by-product will be things that we wanted to change in our lives will begin to change. It’s the by-product principle, it’s not going directly to something as much as going after God, and as we go after God and put first things first in our life, all these other things begin to fall into place. I hope you will put further thought into the by-product principle, and many things we enjoy in life isn’t going directly after them, but it’s the by-product of doing the right things that will begin to produce the right results in our life.

You’re God’s Best

-Carl

Almost Isn’t Good Enough

How many people look at the dreams in their heart and the goals they have for their life, and they often say, “Well, I almost achieved that goal, or I almost saw the realization of that dream in my heart.” Almost isn’t good enough. The world is full of almost people. They almost achieved their financial goal. They almost achieved their health goals. They almost achieve their relationship goal. I believe that you are a person that’s set apart from the rest. You don’t run with the pack. Anyone can come to the end of the year or can come to the end of their life for that matter, and talk about all the things that they almost accomplished. There’s a guy in the book of Acts, and his name is King Agrippa. He stood before the Apostle Paul one day; Paul preached a powerful message. He shared his testimony; it was so inspirational, so moving, personal and powerful that the king said this, “Almost Paul you persuade me to become a Christian.” King Agrippa was an almost person but almost is never good enough. God doesn’t want you to almost realize your dreams or almost understand His plan for your life. He doesn’t want you almost to get that dream job or almost secure that commitment that you’ve been telling yourself that you’re going to live up to.

We almost went on that dream vacation. Why haven’t you? Plan for it. Prepare for it. It may take a few years of saving money, but do it! Don’t get to the edge of your dreams or your goals and then have to pull away! I’m reading through the book of Numbers in my devotional reading in Scripture, and the children of Israel almost entered the Promise Land. Well almost isn’t good enough. They got to the very edge of the Promised Land, and then they chickened out. They saw how big the walled cities were. They saw how formidable the walls around those cities were. They saw how big the people were. They were giants in the land, and they even said this, “We appeared as grasshoppers to them, and so we look that way to them.” They saw themselves as grasshoppers and so the enemies of God saw them as grasshoppers. There’s a great principle in life the way you see yourself, is the way others will see you!

I don’t believe you’re an almost person. I believe you’re an all-the-way person! When it comes to work or business or school, you don’t almost pass that course. You pass it! You don’t almost pass that test you keep taking it until you do. Why? Because you’re not an almost is good enough you’re an all-the-way person! You go all-the-way until you achieve and accomplish the things that God has put in your heart. Never get to the place where you resign yourself by saying, “Well I almost achieved that goal.” No! If you have to start over, start over! You have to begin again, begin again! If you have to adjust yourself or adjust your goals then do whatever it takes. Don’t be an almost person! There are enough almost people in the world that almost assures you, that an all-the-way person will achieve and succeed in reaching your goals. You need to be a follow-through person. You need to be a person that’s a good closer. That’s a good finisher. Not just a good starter. So warm are the things in your life that maybe you’ve resigned to say almost is good enough? What’s the old saying, “Almost is only good enough in horseshoes and hand grenades?” Well, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I know almost is never good enough when it comes to your life when it comes to the things that you must accomplish before your time is up! We’re allowed only so much time this side of eternity! So, be an all-the-way person in your relationships, at church, in school, if you’re in school, in business, if you’re in business, in sales, if you’re a sales person. You don’t wanna say, “Well I almost got that big account. I almost closed that big sale.” No, be tenacious. Be relentless. Be an all the way person.

You’re God’s Best

-Carl

Don’t Bite the Hook

A couple of weeks ago a lady came up to me, and she was sharing her heart about how she’s been struggling with resentment. And believe me in the natural she had every reason in the world to be resentful based on what has happened to her, what someone has done to her and her family. She’s trying to process and sort through this thing called resentment. In Job 5.2 (HEV), “For resentment kills the foolish man, And jealousy kills the simple.

Wow…resentment, in other words, is a killer according to Job. What is resentment? Resentment is bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly. A lot of people go through life, and they are filled with resentment. They resent their parents, or they resent their church, or they resent a friend, or they resent their spouse, or the resent their former spouse they resent their boss they resent their co-workers. Whenever we bite the hook, and sometimes it feels good in the natural to feel resentment, to feel the inner rage against someone because of what they did, it’s like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Resentment does so much damage inside of us, and when we resent someone, we’re allowing that person to live rent free in our heads in our hearts. There’s got to be a better way. There are people in our country today who resent the wealthy. Whatever you resent you resist and repel in your life. If you resent someone that is successful, guess what? You’ll never be successful. If you resent someone that has more than you, then you will repel you will resist allowing God bringing more blessing in your life. For example, if you resent someone that is thin you may never be thin because what you resent and what we resist we repel from our lives. So resentment has a high cost, it has a great price. Oswald Chambers said, “It’s never the big things that disturb us but the trivial things.” many times when we’re dealing with resentment it’s interesting, it’s the little things the trivial things the small things that someone said we take it as a slight. When I was doing some reading and research about this topic on resentment, you know what all world dictators have in common? They’re full of resentment. They remembered every slight that someone did to them, and they internalize that, and it drives them to reach this pinnacle of power so they can pay everyone back that did them wrong. That’s a horrible way to live your life, but it is the little things that can annoy us. “We can sit on a mountain but not on a tack.” You can sit on top of a glorious mountain but not a small little tack, we jump up. See it’s the little things. As the Song of Solomon says, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.” I don’t want your life spoiled. I don’t want your sense of joy interrupted. I don’t want you going through life collecting other peoples grievances, others people’s slights. I don’t want your heart and life filled with resentment. We have to learn to let it go. Don’t bite the hook! Jesus said, “the sins that you retain shall be retained, the sins that you release shall be released.” The power of releasing another human being that has done you wrong, forgiving people forgiving and letting it go isn’t so much about they deserve it but because God deserves it and you deserve it. You deserve to live every day with your heart free from bitterness resentment envy and jealousy. You’ll be healthier. You’ll be happier. You’ll be holier. Don’t bite the hook! When someone’s dangling the hook of resentment, and they baited it well, go the other way. Keep your heart right before God.

Oswald Chambers said, “It’s never the big things that disturb us but the trivial things.” many times when we’re dealing with resentment it’s interesting, it’s the little things the trivial things the small things that someone said we take it as a slight. When I was doing some reading and research about this topic on resentment, you know what all world dictators have in common? They’re full of resentment. They remembered every slight that someone did to them, and they internalize that, and it drives them to reach this pinnacle of power so they can pay everyone back that did them wrong. That’s a horrible way to live your life, but it is the little things that can annoy us. “We can sit on a mountain but not on a tack.” You can sit on top of a glorious mountain but not a small little tack, we jump up. See it’s the little things.

As the Song of Solomon says, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.” I don’t want your life spoiled. I don’t want your sense of joy interrupted. I don’t want you going through life collecting other peoples grievances, others people’s slights. I don’t want your heart and life filled with resentment. We have to learn to let it go. Don’t bite the hook! Jesus said, “the sins that you retain shall be retained, the sins that you release shall be released.” The power of releasing another human being that has done you wrong, forgiving people forgiving and letting it go isn’t so much about they deserve it but because God deserves it and you deserve it. You deserve to live every day with your heart free from bitterness resentment envy and jealousy. You’ll be healthier. You’ll be happier. You’ll be holier. Don’t bite the hook! When someone’s dangling the hook of resentment, and they baited it well, go the other way. Keep your heart right before God.

You’re God’s Best

-Carl