Archive for the ‘Response’ Category

September 24th, 2015

A Conflicted Return

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:11-13 (ESV)

The Lord’s promise of restoration to Israel after their exile finally came to fruition. Having defeated the Babylonian Empire, the king of Persia, Cyrus, decrees (by inspiration from the Lord) that all the Jewish people may return to their home and rebuild the house of the Lord. As permission turns into reality, the laying of the foundation for the new temple is met with a mixed response. Some respond in joy toward the faithfulness of God to His people, recounting a praise first uttered by their great king, David. Others, however, are filled with sorrow by what they have lost and how far they have to go to reclaim it.

You and I have a choice in how we respond to God’s faithfulness after times of discipline. We can come through the other side rejoicing for how God has faithfully walked us through this process of refinement or we can focus on all that we have lost. We must remember that loss is part of pruning. God indeed requires sacrifice as a reminder to us of His supreme sufficiency.

When you look back on your life, don’t fret all that could have been. Learn from those lessons and walk forward in the joy that comes from obedience. Maybe you don’t have the old temple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a new one! Are you ready to lay your foundation?

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Response, Restoration.
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July 11th, 2013

Greatest Simplicity

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

Life can get so complicated at times. In the midst of a life of complexity, the greatest simplicity is knowing the way to respond to God’s offer of salvation. God has given you His very best, Jesus, to become the Lord and Savior of your life. God gave His Son to be the sacrifice for your sin and to purchase your salvation. He has paved the way for you to come into an abiding relationship with Jesus.

  • “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”   1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)
  • I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

The gift of eternal life has been made available to you. Now it is time for you to receive what God has provided for you. The greatest simplicity involves the decision to place your faith in Jesus alone for salvation. To believe in Jesus is to place your total confidence in His redemptive work on the cross and to believe that He was raised from the dead.

Have you responded to the simplicity of the gospel by turning from your sin and trusting in Jesus alone for salvation?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Response, Salvation.
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September 24th, 2012

A Conflicted Return

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:11-13 (ESV)

The Lord’s promise of restoration to Israel after their exile finally came to fruition. Having defeated the Babylonian Empire, the king of Persia, Cyrus, decrees (by inspiration from the Lord) that all the Jewish people may return to their home and rebuild the house of the Lord. As permission turns into reality, the laying of the foundation for the new temple is met with a mixed response. Some respond in joy toward the faithfulness of God to His people, recounting a praise first uttered by their great king, David. Others, however, are filled with sorrow by what they have lost and how far they have to go to reclaim it.

You and I have a choice in how we respond to God’s faithfulness after times of discipline. We can come through the other side rejoicing for how God has faithfully walked us through this process of refinement or we can focus on all that we have lost. We must remember that loss is part of pruning. God indeed requires sacrifice as a reminder to us of His supreme sufficiency.

When you look back on your life, don’t fret all that could have been. Learn from those lessons and walk forward in the joy that comes from obedience. Maybe you don’t have the old temple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a new one! Are you ready to lay your foundation?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 260:  Ezra 1-3)

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 24th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Response, Restoration.
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January 3rd, 2012

Responding to God’s Pursuit

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)

Have you discovered God’s purpose for your life? Do you know why you exist? God created you so that you could know Him personally and make Him known intentionally. The second Experiencing God reality by Henry Blackaby is this: God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal. God took the initiative to bring you into a right relationship with Himself through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross.

God created you for a love relationship that you could never earn nor deserve. God demonstrated His love for you by sacrificing His only Son and the only acceptable sacrifice for your sin. Being rightly related to God in Christ is the most important relationship factor.

Your value is based on God’s pursuit. God pursues you with His redeeming love and your response is vital. How will you respond to God’s pursuit? Will you turn from sin and turn to Jesus alone for salvation? If you have already made that life-changing decision, then continue responding to His pursuit by enjoying unbroken fellowship with God.

Nurture your love relationship with God by establishing a daily appointment with God. Select a time, a place, and a plan. Find a place of solitude to spend time praying and reading God’s Word. Prepare for your daily appointment with God. Choose to read through the Bible in one year by reading four chapters each day. Write down or type insights God gives you as you read His Word. Seek to make a connection between what God says to you and His activity during the day.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Experiencing God, Response, Sensitivity.
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July 11th, 2011

Greatest Simplicity

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

Life can get so complicated at times. In the midst of a life of complexity, the greatest simplicity is knowing the way to respond to God’s offer of salvation. God has given you His very best, Jesus, to become the Lord and Savior of your life. God gave His Son to be the sacrifice for your sin and to purchase your salvation. He has paved the way for you to come into an abiding relationship with Jesus.

  • “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)
  • “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

The gift of eternal life has been made available to you. Now it is time for you to receive what God has provided for you. The greatest simplicity involves the decision to place your faith in Jesus alone for salvation. To believe in Jesus is to place your total confidence in His redemptive work on the cross and to believe that He was raised from the dead.

Have you responded to the simplicity of the gospel by turning from your sin and trusting in Jesus alone for salvation?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, July 11th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Response, Salvation.
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January 19th, 2009

Proper Response

“‘Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’”
“Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.”
Matt 3:13-15 (NIV)

John had been preaching a baptism of repentance to prepare the way for Jesus. People came from Jerusalem and all Judea in order to be baptized by John in the Jordan (Mt. 3:5). When Jesus came to Galilee to be baptized, John was hesitant in that he did not feel worthy. Jesus acknowledged that the proper response to fulfill all righteousness was for John to baptize Him. John consented and Jesus brought honor to God.

God gives us the freedom to choose Christ or to reject Him. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God”(John 1:12-13 NIV). As we choose to receive God’s gift of eternal life through our faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross, our next proper response is to follow Jesus in believer’s baptism.

Have you made the proper response to God’s invitation for salvation? Have you made the proper response of obedience to follow the example of Jesus in believer’s baptism? If not, why not? What is keeping you from making the proper response?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Baptism, Jesus, Obedience, Response.
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January 3rd, 2009

First Love (2)

“Remember the height from which you have fallen!” Rev 2:5a (NIV)

Think back to the time when your relationship with Jesus exhibited true intimacy. Do you remember how sweet your daily time alone with Him was? Do you recall how you could not wait to read the Bible and to practice His presence? Do you remember how you would hunger and thirst for Jesus? Can you remember the height of your relationship with Jesus?

So where are you now in your love relationship with Jesus? What is your current level of intimacy? If your commitment has become cluttered and your devotion to the Lord has become diluted, it is time to remember the height from which you have fallen. It is time to identify what has caused you to drift from your intimacy with Jesus.

  • “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30 (NIV)
  • “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:3-4 (NIV)

God has provided the way for you to know Him personally and intimately through your saving relationship with Jesus. Now that you have a right relationship with God based on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, you can draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Consecration, Forgiveness, Repent, Response.
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April 19th, 2008

Life on the Narrow Road (1)

“‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’” Matt 7:13-14 (NIV)

How do you enter through the narrow gate that only a few find? What does it take to get in on what God has already made available?

Let’s take a look at three steps to entering the narrow gate:

Step 1: Admit that you are a sinner.

  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rm 3:23 (NIV)

Step 2: Believe that Jesus is God’s Son.

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in hims shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Step 3: Confess Jesus as Lord of your life.

  • “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Rm 10:9-10 (NIV)

God loves us enough to make a way for us to be reconciled to Him. In fact, there is only one way to be restored to a right relationship with God. Jesus is the only way!

  • “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NIV)
  • “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6 (NIV

Enter through the narrow gate. Jesus is the way!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, April 19th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Believe, Confession, Lordship, Response, Salvation.
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December 23rd, 2007

For Christmas (2)

God’s revelation demands a response. 

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”  Luke 2:15-18 (NIV)

God speaks. God reveals Himself so that we may know Him and serve Him. God invites us to join Him in His redemptive activity. He includes us in the redemptive process. Yes! God could accomplish His mission without us. He doesn’t need us. God chooses to use us in communicating His love to a lost and drifting world.

The shepherds responded to God’s invitation through instant obedience. They hurried off to find Jesus! There wasn’t a delay to calculate the cost of obedience. They passionately sought the Lord and responded to God’s offer instantly. The shepherds are examples of how God’s revelation demands a response. They could have responded in apathy or in resolve.

What has God revealed to you? Have you responded to God’s revelation by obeying instantly? What is keeping you from walking in the light God has given you? Imagine responding to God with a resolute, “Yes, Lord!” For Christmas, consider what God has been speaking into your life. Make a decision to trust God and His perfect timing. Decide to obey Him instantly. Leave the results up to God!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell,
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Christmas, Response.
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