Archive for the ‘People God Uses’ Category

July 17th, 2009

The People God Uses

God uses people who are selfless.

“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” John 6:8-9 (NIV)

The first question people ask during times of transition is, “How will this affect me?” If you have experienced the transition of a child moving onto a college campus, or taking on a new job assignment, or moving into a new neighborhood, or helping a loved one get acclimated to an assisted living center, you have probably have asked the question, “How will this affect me?” We are by nature self-centered and self-absorbed. Often we act as though the earth rotates around our axis. It is so easy to become self-consumed.

Maybe that’s why this encounter that Andrew had with a boy and his sack lunch means so much to me. Here’s a boy who places the needs of others before his own. Here’s a boy who has an aggressively developing appetite, yet selflessly gives up his lunch so that others can eat.

There is a valuable lesson for us to consider. It is not how much you have, but what you are willing to selflessly give in order to bless others. Jesus does not bless you based on what you have, but on how you give. Being selfish comes naturally. Being selfless is a result of walking in the Spirit. Being selfless is the product of an abiding relationship with Jesus. It is not about living the Christian life. It is about allowing Jesus to live His life in you and through you.

Maybe there is a better question for us to ask: “How will this affect Jesus?”

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
(This devotional was originally posted in ’07 or ’08. I’m taking a break from writing for a season of personal renewal.)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category People God Uses, Selfless.
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December 17th, 2007

The People God Uses (7)

God uses people who are hospitable.

“When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.” Acts 16:15 (NIV)

Have you ever been to someone’s house and you felt right at home? After being there you experienced a special touch of love and encouragement. You left feeling better then when you arrived! Now that’s hospitality. When someone rolls out the red carpet on your behalf, you feel valued.

After Lydia became a Christ follower, she extended gracious hospitality to Paul and his traveling companions. Lydia rolled out the red carpet to make them feel right at home. She sought to meet their needs and to provide an atmosphere where they could be refreshed. Her ministry of hospitality did not end there. God blessed Lydia’s hospitality and allowed her home to become the meeting place for the church at Philippi.

“After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.” Acts 16:40 (NIV)

During Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, he wrote a beautiful love letter to the church at Philippi. You can read it now by opening the Bible and turning to the book of Philippians. God used Lydia to touch our lives even today through her willingness to be hospitable.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 17th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Hospitable, Lydia, People God Uses.
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December 16th, 2007

The People God Uses (6)

God uses people who are sensitive.

“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)

Where would you be without someone believing in you? Everybody needs a Barnabas! Saul would have never become the Apostle Paul without a Barnabas in his life. Barnabas was sensitive to the activity of God. He recognized God at work in Saul’s life and willingly stood in the gap for him when others wanted to reject him. Barnabas was sensitive enough to detect the person behind the murderous past. He identified what Saul could become as the Apostle Paul and thoughtfully worked behind the scenes to help Paul reach his God-given potential.

Spend some time reflecting on your spiritual journey. Identify the people God brought into your life who became like a Barnabas to you and helped you develop in your faith. Write their names down and pray over each name. Thank God for their influence in your life.

Are you willing to be a Barnabas to someone this week? Would you be willing to be sensitive to the activity of God in someone’s life and allow God to use you to be a blessing?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 16th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Barnabas, People God Uses, Sensitive.
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December 15th, 2007

The People God Uses (5)

God uses people who are broken.

“But the Lord said to Ananias, Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’”  Acts 9:15-16 (NIV)

God specializes in using broken people. His love shines brightly through the cracks of broken vessels. Paul understood brokenness. Though he was God’s chosen instrument to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, he traveled the way of suffering. As you read Paul’s writings in the New Testament, you quickly detect that Paul’s journey was filled with adversity. Here’s a snapshot of some of his experiences. 

“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” 2 Cor 11:24-28 (NIV)

Are you broken before the Lord? Anything that breaks the heart of God should break your heart. Often God will allow you to go through difficult circumstances to form the character of Christ in you. In your brokenness, you have a wonderful opportunity to know Christ more intimately and to make Him known more effectively.  

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 15th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Broken, Paul, People God Uses.
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December 14th, 2007

The People God Uses (4)

God uses people who are compassionate.

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’” Luke 10:33-35 (NIV)

Has your day ever been interrupted by tragedy? How did you respond? The Good Samaritan responded to tragedy by getting involved in the resolution. He demonstrated compassion in action by seeking to meet the needs of the one who had been violated and wounded. While others walked on by as to keep their distance, the Good Samaritan walked directly to the man in desperate need to extend a helping hand.

Life is full of opportunities to ignore or meet needs. You can easily become apathetic and slip into a numb state of existence whereby the needs of others no longer tug at your heart strings. What if God wants you to get involved? What if God wants to use you to make an eternal difference in the life of someone in need? How will you respond?

  • “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matt 14:14 (NIV)
  • “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” Mark 6:34 (NIV)

Jesus is our model of compassion. Choose to be like Jesus! 

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, December 14th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Compassionate, Good Samaritan, People God Uses.
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December 13th, 2007

The People God Uses (3)

God uses people who are selfless.

“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” John 6:8-9 (NIV)

The first question people ask during times of transition is, “How will this affect me?” If you have experienced the transition of a child moving onto a college campus, or taking on a new job assignment, or moving into a new neighborhood, or helping a loved one get acclimated to an assisted living center, you have probably have asked the question, “How will this affect me?” We are by nature self-centered and self-absorbed. Often we act as though the earth rotates around our axis. It is so easy to become self-consumed.

Maybe that’s why this encounter that Andrew had with a boy and his sack lunch means so much to me. Here’s a boy who places the needs of others before his own. Here’s a boy who has an aggressively developing appetite, yet selflessly gives up his lunch so that others can eat.

There is a valuable lesson for us to consider. It is not how much you have, but what you are willing to selflessly give in order to bless others. Jesus does not bless you based on what you have, but on how you give. Being selfish comes naturally. Being selfless is a result of walking in the Spirit. Being selfless is the product of an abiding relationship with Jesus. It is not about living the Christian life. It is about allowing Jesus to live His life in you and through you.

Maybe there is a better question for us to ask: “How will this affect Jesus?”

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category People God Uses, Selfless.
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December 12th, 2007

The People God Uses (2)

God uses people who are intentional.

“The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’ And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.” Luke 3:15-18 (NIV)

Knowing who you are “not” is just as important as knowing who you “are.” God has designed you with a specific personality type. He formed you to be His image bearer. God saved you to fulfill His assignment for your life. It’s not about your story that God plays a part in. It is all about God’s story that you get to play a part in. God invites you to join Him in His story.

John the Baptist was clear about his identity. He understood that he was not the Christ. John understood and embraced his role as the one who would point others to Jesus. John the Baptist lived a focused life. He was intentional about preparing the way for others to encounter Jesus. John understood who he personally was “not” and who he personally “was.”

There is tremendous freedom in fulfilling God’s purpose according to your unique design. Giving your life to something bigger than you and to something that will impact others for eternity is worth your focus. God uses people who are intentional. Are you intentionally on mission with God? Have you fully surrendered your life to God’s agenda? Are you willing to live a life of intentionality?

Here’s a good start: Point others to Jesus!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 12th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Intentional, John the Baptist, People God Uses.
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December 11th, 2007

The People God Uses (1)

God uses people who are available.

“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:38 (NIV)

Why did God choose Mary to give birth to the Son of God? In His perfect wisdom, God chose Mary because He knew she would willingly make herself available for His use. Mary affirmed her availability by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant.” She honored God by her posture of availability. She demonstrated such a beautiful portrait of being receptive and responsive to God’s will. Mary declared, “May it be to me as you have said.” In other words, she was acknowledging that she belonged to God for His glory.

God uses people who are available. What is your level of availability for God’s use? Often our lives become so cluttered and overextended, that there’s little room for availability. Can you relate? God wants to use you. God is more concerned about your availability than your ability.

What needs to change in your life? What adjustments need to be made in your daily schedule to make room for God? Your availability matters to God. Would you be willing to say, “Lord, I’m Yours?”

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Available, Mary, People God Uses.
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