Archive for the ‘Paul’ Category

November 17th, 2014

Human Instrumentality

“For he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles.” Galatians 2:8 (ESV)

God still uses human instrumentality in the redemptive process. God chooses to use us in unique ways to shine His light and to share His love. You were created by God to know Him personally by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus. God sought you, bought you, redeemed you, forgave you, adopted you, included you, filled you, and sealed you so that you could be an instrument of His redeeming love.

Peter was uniquely gifted by God to be an apostle to the Jews. God transformed Paul from a persecutor of the church to be a preacher of the gospel as an apostle to the Gentiles. Of course Peter was to be an irresistible influence for the Lord to everyone he came in contact with. Yet, God was at work through Peter to specifically bring the saving news of Jesus to the Jews. Paul had an assignment from God to spread the aroma of Christ to every person who did not have a saving relationship with Jesus. However, God was strategically at work in Paul to build a bridge of hope to the Gentiles.

Your life is to be lived in such a way as to demonstrate and communicate the redemptive love of God. Your conversation and conduct are to point people to Jesus so they can know Him personally and eternally just as you do. Maximize the moments God gives you to make Jesus known. Capture the opportunities to ask spiritual questions that take your conversations vertical. Feature the grace of God by sharing with others how they can come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Paul, Peter.
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November 16th, 2014

Authentic Christianity

“And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, ‘He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me.” Galatians 1:22-24 (ESV)

Think about someone you are acquainted with that would be characterized as being far from God. When you think of this person, maybe you wonder if he or she could ever change. Perhaps their perpetual behavior has made you consider them unreachable and indifferent to the grace of God.

Paul would have been considered someone like this. He was far from God and far from operating in the center of God’s will. Paul was deeply passionate, but his passion was misdirected and brought immeasurable harm to the followers of Jesus. Paul, known as Saul before his conversion, was steeped in legalism and sought to strip believers of their identity in Christ.

God revealed His grace through a powerful transformation of Paul’s life. Instead of persecuting the church, Paul began preaching the faith he once sought to destroy. Can you imagine the followers of Jesus contemplating the transformation of such an avid opponent to the movement of God such as Paul.

The churches of Judea praised God because of Paul. Though they did not know him personally, they praised God for the report of the life change Paul experienced. He became a portrait of God’s grace.

There’s no one beyond the reach of God’s grace. Even the vilest sinner can be radically saved and transformed by the power of God. The grace of God is sufficient to produce an authentic Christian out of anyone, including those far from God. What if you heard a report that gave testimony to the revolutionary transformation of the person you deem farthest from God? Pray for that to become a reality!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Grace, Paul, Transformation.
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May 18th, 2014

Sharing the Gospel

On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles). Galatians 2:7-8 (ESV)

One of the many joys in the Christian life for us is recognizing that God still uses human instrumentality in the redemptive process. God chooses to use us in His master plan to bring people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Sometimes God will prompt us to openly share our faith with an individual and allow us to lead that person in the sinner’s prayer. God also empowers our ongoing conversation and conduct to serve as a witness for Christ to a watching world. As Dr. Johnny Hunt says, “People in your community may not read the Bible, but they will read the gospel according to your life.”

Peter embraced his calling from God to share the gospel with the Jews. God had anointed Peter for that particular assignment. Peter had a special connection with the Jews and a specific burden to reach them for Christ.

Paul identified his personal mission statement as bringing glory to God by preaching the gospel to the Gentiles and planting churches. Paul shared the gospel intentionally and strategically. He focused his life to be on mission with God. Paul simply joined God in His redemptive activity.

If you have been saved by the grace of God, then you have been commissioned by God to participate in His redemptive activity. You have a song to sing and message to declare. Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Share the gospel today. Be intentional about knowing Jesus personally and making Him known relationally.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, May 18th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category On Mission, Paul, Peter.
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May 3rd, 2014

Refining Your Focus

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 (ESV)

When I read this passage it reminds me of my experience of training for a 5k race. You may think that I meant that I was training for a marathon, but I was training for my first ever 5-kilometer race. I grew up racing motocross, bmx, and Jet Skis. But it wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I embraced the challenge of running this type of race. I discovered that the intensity level in the training phase has proportionate benefits to the racing phase. Training matters!

The Christian life is very similar to that of a race. Jesus calls us to run with purpose, focus, and intensity. We are to run in such a way as to get the prize. The focus of the Christian life is not comfort, but change. As we diligently run the race set before us, Jesus transforms us into His image. Knowing that we are going to receive a crown that will last forever, we are to run this race with passion and determination. Our lives are to be marked by discipline and self-control.

Paul lived his life with a passion to complete the task the Lord had given him. He diligently gave his life to testifying of the gospel of God’s grace. God gave Paul grace for the race.

There’s more to this life than preparing for and running in a 5k. God has an assignment tailor made for you to fulfill. God will comfort you as you comfort others and as He changes you. Allow God to empower you for the race. Be committed to finish strong!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Evangelism, Missions, Paul.
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April 2nd, 2014

Being Crucified with Christ

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 (NIV)

Sometimes your greatest obstacle is you.

Paul gave us insight into the civil war within him. Though a seasoned believer and a mature follower of Jesus Christ, Paul wrestled with his old sin patterns. His flesh kept calling him back to the old ways. He experienced the gravitational pull of the flesh.

In the Old Testament, the children of Israel had witnessed the mighty acts of God. Think about it. They participated in the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground. They ate manna from Heaven and drank water from the rock. Their shoes did not wear out after forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The opportunity to enter the Land of Promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, was right before them. Yet, they were unwilling to embrace God’s abundant life for them. They wanted to go back to Egypt where they were slaves.

  • “And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’” Num. 14:4 (ESV)
  • “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20 (ESV)

Paul demonstrated the discipline of being crucified with Christ. When your flesh wants to go back to the bondage of Egypt and fulfill the cravings of your sin nature, choose to crucify the flesh. Remember, whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies. Starve the flesh! Feed your love relationship with God! Nourish the life of Christ in you!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Discipleship, Paul.
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March 5th, 2014

Running the Christian Race

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV)

Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

The Greeks had two athletic festivals: the Olympic games and the Isthmian games. Paul’s audience would immediately connect this running imagery with the Isthmian games in their city of Corinth. Instead of receiving a gold, silver, or bronze medal like in our current day Olympics, only one prize was awarded in the Isthmian games. The winning runner would receive a wreath. Nothing was awarded to the runner who came in second or third. Only one person got the prize!

Paul is encouraging us as believers to run in such a way as to get that prize. We are to live the Christian life with passion. God desires our best and God deserves our best. So, how are you running the Christian race? Are you running with passion? Too often, we divert our passion to other venues. We rob God and we give our best to that which has no eternal value.

How you live is just as important as how much time you have left on this earth. The quality of your life is just as vital as the quantity of your remaining days. How will you live your life? If you had only a short time left to live, would your passion in the race of life be vertical? Would your passion for God and His agenda be evident?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Agenda, Passion, Paul.
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March 4th, 2014

Passionate Intercession

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul demonstrated his love for the church at Philippi by his passionate intercession for them. He prayed with joy because of their partnership in the gospel. He prayed with confidence knowing that God began a good work in them and would bring it to completion. Paul’s prayer life was energized by his love for the believers at Philippi. Paul was not alone. The Holy Spirit joined in the divine communication by interceding for the saints in Philippi. Jesus interceded for them from the right hand of God in heaven.

  • “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Rom. 8:26-27 (ESV)
  • “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Rom. 8:34 (ESV)

When you pray for others, you have the divine privilege of joining the Holy Spirit and Jesus in the ministry of intercession. Put your passion in action by embracing the ministry of intercessory prayer. Who will you begin to pray for today?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Intercession, Passion, Paul.
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January 3rd, 2014

Unrelenting Pursuit

“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV)

What makes you come alive? What are you passionate about? What gets your focus, attention, and energy? Paul was clear about the pursuit of his life. God had radically transformed his life on the road to Damascus and called him to a life of dangerous surrender.

In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul gave insight to his unrelenting pursuit of knowing Christ. His passion was to know Christ more. Paul desired to take his love relationship with Christ to a deeper level. He wanted to personally know the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. Paul was not satisfied with religion and routine. He passionately desired the real, authentic, and vibrant love relationship with Christ that no other relationship could offer.

Assess your pursuit. Are there fragments of apathy and lethargy? Have you been distracted by worldliness or worry? Living in a fallen world can dilute your passion for the things of God. Recognize those things in your life that have stifled your spiritual appetite. Remove those things that have usurped your hunger and thirst for God.

You determine the level of your pursuit of knowing Jesus more. Be unrelenting in your pursuit of a vibrant and growing love relationship with Christ. Emulate Paul’s passion to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. Return to your first love. Guard your heart and passionately pursue Christ!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, January 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Passion, Paul, Pursuing God.
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November 8th, 2013

Integrity

“For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” 1 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)

Hypocrisy corrodes the connection we make with a lost and dying world. Our influence for Christ is inhibited when there is a discrepancy between our words and our actions. Being an irresistible influence for Christ mandates integrity.

Paul invested in Timothy’s life and was instrumental in Timothy’s coming to faith in Christ. Timothy had shadowed Paul and had insight into both Paul’s public and private life. Paul was now sending Timothy to the church at Corinth to remind them of Paul’s way of life in Christ Jesus. Timothy was positioned to give firsthand testimony to Paul’s integrity as a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Paul’s way of life in Christ agreed with what he taught everywhere in every church. His faith and his practice were in sync. Paul’s lifestyle was in alignment with his loyalty to Christ. When you examined Paul’s behavior, it was in-tune with his beliefs. Paul’s conduct was consistent with his convictions.

Let me share with you one of the most engaging definitions of integrity that I have ever heard. Integrity is when the tongue in your mouth lines up with the tongue in your shoe. When your speech matches your path on the street, then integrity is exhibited. When there is misalignment between our talk and our walk, hypocrisy erupts.

Does your way of life in Christ line up with your convictions and conversations? Is there any area of your life that is out of sync with your true identity in Christ? Ask the Lord to reveal inconsistencies and choose to live a life of integrity that brings glory to God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 8th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Consistency, Integrity, Paul.
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September 30th, 2013

Releasing the Past

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Don’t allow your past to prevent you from the future God has for you. Everyone has a past. Everybody has pollution at some level in their past. We have made decisions we regret, said hurtful words we regret, and have had impure thoughts. We have caused pain in the lives of others and we have also been the recipient of pain from others. Living in a fallen world becomes evident by looking into the rear-view mirror.

Paul enjoyed the favor of God. While participating with God in the redemptive process, Paul also encountered the trauma of severe persecution. His rear-view mirror included scenes of immense failures and tremendous successes. Paul understood the vital importance of releasing the past and embracing the future.

Memory has power. Satan uses memory to immobilize us. God uses memory to remind us of the depth of His love. God wants to do something great through your life in spite of your past. God factored in your sin before you were even born. God made provision for your sin and your success by allowing Jesus to pay your sin debt in full.

Find a private place of solitude. Take out a notepad and ask God to reveal unconfessed sin in your life. In the quietness of the moment, begin to write down what God reveals to you. Specifically confess each sin by agreeing with God that you have broken His heart and missed the mark. Now receive God’s cleansing for your sin and release the past.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 30th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Focus, Paul.
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