Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

October 7th, 2015

Worship that God Rejects

“Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 1:10-11 (ESV)

Any worship that is offered for any other reason than proclaiming the greatness of the name of the Lord is vanity! In fact, the Lord suggests He would rather you not show up, if praising His name is not your chief concern. The people of Israel had forgotten this reality. Some 80 years after the promises of Haggai and Zechariah, the people of God found themselves impoverished and disillusioned. God’s temple was rebuilt, but where was the promised blessing? Where was God’s presence? Undoubtedly they had allowed their circumstance to encourage them to say things like, “Since He has not given us His best, we will not give Him our best. Surely, He would understand if we gave Him our worst livestock since we need our best ones for the best profit.”

The Lord, however, takes exception to their insufficient offering. Our praise and worship of our Lord should never be dictated by circumstance. We must always seek to give Him our best, because His name is worthy of nothing less. We take in vain the name of the Lord when we don’t come with our best. Think about your motivation for worship. Why do you come to sing songs and hear the word of God taught? Why do you serve daily in your neighborhoods or at the church? Is it to proclaim the greatness of the name of the Lord? If it is for any other reason, then it is in vain. You would be better to simply shut the temple doors.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Best, Malachi, Worship.
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October 5th, 2015

Sacred Assembly

“Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God.” Nehemiah 9:1-3 (ESV)

The walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the people of Israel had gathered for a sacred assembly. Ezra read the Book of the Law in the hearing of the people. In brokenness and humility, the people of Israel assembled with fasting and consecrated themselves before the Lord. They chose to separate themselves from all foreigners and stood to confess their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. In this sacred assembly, they experienced the reading of the law, confession, and worship.

What does your worship look like in private? How do you commune with God personally and privately? Spend a few moments assessing your private worship. Do you spend time feeding on God’s Word? Do you spend unhurried time alone with God in prayer and contemplation?

Now think about your public worship. When you gather with other believers to worship God, what does your worship experience entail? Are you conscious of your own sin and cognizant of the holiness of God? Is there a spirit of brokenness and humility as you worship God?

Ask God to take your private and public worship to a new level of intimacy. Invite the Lord to take you on a journey in worship that enables you to encounter Him in all of His fullness and holiness.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 5th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Fasting, Nehemiah, Worship.
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September 25th, 2015

Joy is the Heart of Worship

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:22 (ESV)

Joy is the heart of worship. In fact, I like to define worship as “joy expressed.” The heart of the feast mentioned above for the people of God was joy found in God’s faithfulness to them in allowing them to return to their land of promise and begin the process of rebuilding their temple. They were so overwhelmed by the provision of God that they could not contain their joyous response any longer.

Is worship for you fueled by joy? When you join your church to corporately praise the name of the Lord, are you motivated to sing those words and hear that teaching because of the inexpressible joy and satisfaction you have found in the saving work of Christ? When you serve on the mission field or in a local ministry near your home, are you doing so out of response to how Christ has so selflessly served you? If joy is not at the heart of your worship, then is it truly worship? Even in times of despair, our joy rises above that circumstance and allows us to sing hymns in the midst of prison cells.

Consider today all that you have to rejoice in from the Lord. Think about how faithfully He has guided you back to His promises and empowered you to do the work of ministry. Remember all the times that in the midst of adversity the Lord encouraged you and helped you to overcome. Write those remembrances down and use them as instruments of joy to fuel your worship today and every day as the people of God did upon returning to their home.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Joy, Worship.
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June 27th, 2015

The Whole Duty of Man

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV

After a very long discussion of how this world can offer nothing that truly satisfies a man, the Preacher of Ecclesiastes comes to this very wise and final conclusion: our responsibility to the Lord as His creation is to honor Him by being fully satisfied by Him.

God created in order to share with a people the fullness of His Being, meaning all His characteristics and attributes.  He wanted to show them His perfect love, peace, creativity, and provision so that in turn these people would respond in worship to Him, recognizing Him as the glorious God that He is.

Truly, this is why we exist: to glorify God and worship as we recognize our inability to be satisfied apart from Him.

Along the way, though, you and I have the tendency to get distracted and turn to created things to satisfy us in ways that only God can.  This distraction is the essence of sin: looking at our God, who is the perfection of everything we need, and saying to Him, “I would rather have this thing you created than you.”  We give the glory reserved for God to something He created, and we do it all the time.  How many times have you turned to created things to fulfill you in ways that you know only God can?  Why would we rob our God, who alone is worthy of our praise, of the glory He deserves?

The Preacher says you can search this whole world and try everything under the sun to find satisfaction, but none of it will truly satisfy.  So, quit looking down here for satisfaction that can only be found up there!  Turn your attention to the Lord.  Fear Him and keep His commandments, knowing that when you do, you will discover your ultimate purpose and be joyously satisfied in our infinite God.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Pastor of Mobilization & Young Adults (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 27th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Creator, Satisfaction, Worship.
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June 22nd, 2015

Worship, Our Joy Expressed

“I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 146:1 ESV)

We were created to worship God, and everywhere you or I look we can find another reason to worship Him.

Look at creation.  What a creative and generous God we serve!  Mountains, oceans, the animals on the African plane, and a host of other examples all communicate the beautiful ingenuity of our glorious God.  He is worthy to be praised for His creation.  Look at His creation today, be filled with joy, and respond in worship to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Look at God’s provision for you.  Do you have a home?  Do you have a family?  Do you have a church family? Do you have food for today? Do you have a job? Do you have a car or some other means of transportation? Do you have a Savior who has rescued you from eternal wrath through His sacrificial work on the cross when you were without hope?  Do you have the revealed Word of God to help mold and shape you into the image of Christ by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit?  Think about the many ways God has provided for you, be filled with joy, and respond in worship to our great and generous God.

I could go on and on with innumerable reasons to stand and worship our God, but I could never describe how He interacts with you personally on a daily basis.  I challenge you to look today for the many ways God is active in your life and respond with a heart of gratitude and praise for His presence.  Will you join with creation today in praising our God, who is worthy?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Pastor of Mobilization & Young Adults (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, June 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Joy, Satisfaction, Worship.
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April 18th, 2015

Go Vertical

“And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 14:35 (ESV)

Saul had been preoccupied with his mission of mobilizing his army against the Philistines. His warriors were weary and faint since they had not been allowed to eat. In desperation, they killed animals and ate them with the blood. When Saul heard about their conduct, he summoned everyone to bring his ox or sheep to where he was and to slaughter the animals there. Saul reminded the people to not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood. At this time, Saul built an altar to the Lord.

  • “And Saul inquired of God, ‘Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?’ But he did not answer him that day.” 1 Samuel 14:37 (ESV)

Saul chose to go vertical through worship and through prayer. He was seeking guidance from the Lord and wanted to know if he should pursue the Philistines and if God would give them into his hands. God did not answer him that day.

Have you experienced anything recently that caused you to go vertical through worship and prayer? Have you known desperation at the level of being compelled to seek God and wait upon His directive? Pursue God daily and persistently. Go vertical with your focus and with your energy. Keep your passion for God alive by consistently feeding on His Word and consistently communing with Him in prayer. Your love relationship with the Lord is the most important relationship in your life. Maintain intimacy with God.

What adjustments do you need to make in your life in order to align your life with God’s priorities? What is keeping you from going vertical?

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Samuel, Saul, Worship.
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April 3rd, 2015

Made to Worship

“Then the whole congregation of the people of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them.” Joshua 18:1 (ESV)

You were created to worship. God has given you the freedom to choose your object of worship. You can choose to worship creation or you can choose to worship the Creator. God’s will is for you to worship Him as your Creator. The enemy will tempt you to worship yourself, other people, or other things to divert your devotion from God.

  • “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Matthew 4:8-10 (ESV)

The people of Israel methodically received their allotment of land. As you can imagine, the process was lengthy and thorough. The entire congregation of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to set up the tent of meeting. The priority of worship was guarded and the activity of worship was perpetual. The land lay subdued before them as they worshiped the One True Living God!

How will you respond to the temptation to bypass God in worship? Will you do what Jesus did? Stand firm in your resolve to worship the Lord your God and serve Him with passion and diligence. Establish the priority of worship in your daily routine and surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Make Jesus your number one priority as you unleash your worship to revere the One who died to set you free.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Joshua, Priorities, Worship.
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March 1st, 2015

Avoid Idolatry

“‘You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 26:1 (ESV)

What is an idol? Whatever you value more than God is an idol. We are made to worship. There is a tendency to bypass worshiping our Creator and choose instead to worship creation. God’s uniqueness requires unique devotion. The desire to fashion God in our own image produces a distorted view of God and confuses our created purpose.

Moses was instructed to engage in conflict resolution as a result of Israel’s rebellion: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:7-8 ESV).

Avoid idolatry! Remove those things you love more than God. God demands and deserves your loyalty. You demonstrate loyalty through Lordship. Who occupies the throne of your life? Be attentive to those things that are seeking to be enthroned in your life. Don’t allow anything to usurp your affection and your devotion. Keep your focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. If you have drifted, return to your first love and make Jesus your top priority.

Practice moment-by-moment surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Allow Jesus to be the Lord of every area of your life. Give Him full access to your thoughts, your desires, your fears, and your future. Pray, “Lord, I’m Yours! Use me!”

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 1st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Leviticus, Worship.
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August 24th, 2014

Expressing Our Union

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (ESV)

God ordained marriage and God ordained the church. We are married to Christ and our union is expressed through His Body, the church. Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus affirmed that He would build His church on that reality.

In order to become a follower of Jesus Christ and become a member of His Body, the church, a person must confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. This profession of our faith is essential to salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). Jesus builds His church by adopting us into His family (Eph. 1:5). Only those who are born again enter into His Kingdom (John 3:3).

Jesus builds His church. Our job is to be the church. Jesus saves people from their sin. Our job is to share the Good News of Jesus so that others can know Jesus personally and eternally. Jesus saves us, not to sit, but to serve. Our role in the Body of Christ, the church, is to empty hell and to populate heaven.

The church is not the physical building. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are the church. We are the church gathered in worship and the church scattered on mission during the week. God wants us to be the church so that the world will have the opportunity to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Express your union with Christ. May others be drawn to Christ through your witness. Testify of His redeeming love and share your spiritual story.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Ministry, Witness, Worship.
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August 23rd, 2014

Witness Through Worship

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 (ESV)

Think about where you sit each Sunday when you attend the worship service at your local church. Maybe you like sitting in the rear of the worship center, or maybe the front, or perhaps on the side. Find your place and think about what you do during that time of worship. This is your weekly experience of joining other believers in public worship of the One who lived, died, and rose again to bring you life eternal.

Your worship is a witness. Did you realize that the way you express your worship to Almighty God is a witness to others. Your worship matters to God and impacts others. Consider your worship the past few Sundays. Were others inspired by your worship? Was it evident to others that Christ is your life? Did you express your love to God in such a way that others nearby where convinced of your devotion?

Paul and Silas were in prison for preaching the gospel. In the middle of the night, they were praying and singing hymns to God. That must have been an unusual sight for the other prisoners to behold. You see, the other prisoners were listening. Paul and Silas’ midnight expression of worship was a witness. God showed up in His power and delivered Paul and Silas from their confinement. God also brought salvation to the jailer and his entire household. The prisoners had never seen anything like that before.

What kind of witness is your worship to others? The way you focus in worship each week is so important. Expressing your love to God in public worship has the capacity to influence others. Bring your passion to corporate worship this upcoming weekend and be intentional about your worship being a witness.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Witness, Worship.
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