Archive for the ‘Witness’ Category

December 30th, 2015

Remember the Cloud of Witnesses

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

Building upon his list of some of the most faithful people in all of Scripture, the author of Hebrews now challenges us to remain as strong and vigilant as those before us in the face of adversity or temptation. Whatever situation comes your way, know that someone has walked through something similar and has proven faithful. Are you trying to lead a people out of bondage from a powerful empire? Well, look to Moses, who in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds allowed the Lord to work miraculously through him. Have you been called to sacrifice your one and only promised son by the Lord? Look to Abraham, who trusted even when he did not understand, allowing the Lord to deliver his son at the right time. Have you been attacked by a lion lately? Well, look to Samson, whose God-infused power allowed him to tear apart his attacker.

While almost certainly none of us have been in as precarious positions as these, knowing that men just like us stood firm in the face of extraordinary circumstances should give us hope that we can stand when we face obstacles ourselves. Many have gone before us and finished well. Many are proving faithful in our midst presently. There is no reason that you cannot set aside your weights and run this race with endurance. Do not be overcome by thinking that you are the only one. Remember the examples we have and set out to emulate them as you serve our worthy God.

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, December 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Hebrews, Witness.
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October 22nd, 2015

Let Your Light Shine

“And he said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’” Mark 4:21-23 (ESV)

The Kingdom of God is being established by the Church through the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. We, as God’s ambassadors, are proclaiming hope and purpose as a result of the cross, demanding the darkness of depravity to recede in the glory of the light of God’s beautiful revelation in Jesus. We are revealing God’s purpose for all things and calling creation to restoration, enabling all things to worship the Lord and give Him the glory that He alone is due!

In light of these profound truths, how could we ever consider keeping the light within us as a result of the Spirit’s regenerative work hidden? Why do we allow the darkness to demand authority over the light? When we walk into a room as God’s chosen people, that room should be lit by the joy in our hearts, demanding the hearts of those who have not responded to Christ’s sacrifice to consider the difference in our worldview and theirs.

We have been called to be witnesses, which should not be a hard thing given this image from Jesus. Witnessing should be a natural thing, in that any time light steps into darkness the difference is noticeable. This was certainly true of Jesus, the ultimate light, whose radiance in the midst of darkness changed the course of human history! Will you follow His example? Will you let your light shine and build the Kingdom of God today?

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, October 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Light of the World, Mark, Witness.
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October 2nd, 2015

Study the Law of the Lord

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Ezra 7:10 (ESV)

The narrative of Ezra jumps 57 years between chapters 6 and 7, introducing now the titular character of Ezra. The hand of the Lord is obviously upon him, as he approaches the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, and receives permission to return to Jerusalem and once again instruct the people of God in how to live according to the Law. Notice in our verse for today, though, that his motivation in doing this was not power nor prestige but rather a love for the Law and for the Lord. The Lord raises him up and puts His hand upon Him to once again provide a mediator between He and His people, and this mediator will not lead others astray as so many other leaders have done because of His passion for the Law of the Lord.

If you and I are to lead the people God has placed in our lives to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk in relationship with the Lord, then we must set our hearts to study the Law of the Lord, to practice it, and to teach it. Firstly, we must study the Word of God. Too many of us rely upon others to feed us instead of investing ourselves in concentrated meditation upon the riches of scripture. When we study, we grow in relationship and the Spirit cultivates our heart after Christ’s. Secondly, once we have studied, we must live out what we have studied. The Word of God is transformative, and how it transforms us displays its power and usefulness for when we proclaim it, which is our third responsibility. What we learn, we must entrust to others, who need to know what it means to walk worthy of the calling of God upon their lives.

Are you studying as Ezra did? Are you practicing? Are you teaching? Commit today to grow in one of these areas for your own good, the good of those around you, and, of course, for the glory of God!

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, October 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Scripture, Witness.
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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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March 11th, 2014

Shining His Light

“‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so thatthey may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven..’” Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

Uncover your candle.

Jesus has transformed your life so that you will become an agent of transformation in the world. Jesus has illuminated your life so that you will reflect His light and extend His love to a lost and dying world. As a child of God, you are the light of the world. God has strategically placed you in a dark culture in order to shine His light in you and through you. You are alive right now on purpose. You live, work, study, and play right where God has placed you to know Jesus and to make Him known.

Is your light shining? Is your candle burning brightly for the Lord? God has created people who need the light you have. God has brought them into your life and placed them in your sphere of influence so that you can let your light shine before them.

Don’t fear the open doors God places before you. Don’t divert from the path God has placed you on. Don’t neglect crossing the bridges God has built for you.

You will come into contact with people today who need the light God has placed within you. Will you uncover the candle? Will you allow the light of Jesus to shine through you in order to reveal His love to others?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Jesus, Witness.
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December 3rd, 2013

Portray Christ

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are in the world, but not of the world. We are considered aliens and strangers in the world. God has saved us from our sin and called us to Himself. We are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10) and His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). God has done a gracious work in us so that He can do a redemptive work through us.

God wants us to be an irresistible influence in our world. Living with eternity in mind will help us to protect our priorities and to reflect what God values. Our testimony will be strengthened by our devotion to living a life of moral purity. Sinful desires war against our soul. Sin infects us and affects our effectiveness in influencing a lost and dying world toward Christ.

Let’s commit to stay close and clean. Our purity paves the way for connectivity with a fallen world. God wants us to stay clean and live such good lives among lost people that will cause them to glorify God.

Is there anyone following Jesus as a result of following you? Have you become an irresistible influence for Christ right where you are? Are others being drawn to Christ because of your conversation and your conduct?

Consider the people God has brought in your path over the past few weeks. How has your life impacted their lives? Was the life of Christ in you evident to them? Portray Christ in a real way to a real world in real need. You may be the only Jesus others see.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Irresistible influence, Jesus, Witness.
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May 6th, 2013

Extend the Ministry

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)

Extend the ministry; you are reconciled to reconcile. The freedom we enjoy in America comes at a great price. Thousands of men and women have given their lives in service to our country to preserve our freedom. We are blessed to worship God corporately without fear of invasion. Thank God for our fallen warriors and their families.

Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for our reconciliation. Jesus died to provide for the forgiveness of our sins and to remove the barrier separating us from Holy God. Jesus was obedient to death on the cross to satisfy the righteous requirements of God (Phil. 2:8). As the sinless sacrifice, Jesus provided to us heaven and eternal life.

Now that you have been reconciled to God, extend the ministry of reconciliation to those disconnected from Christ. You are reconciled in order to reconcile. You have been given this life-changing ministry from God. God has empowered you to be a minister of reconciliation.

Build intentional relationships with those who are disconnected from Christ. Join God in reconciling the world to Him. Your reconciliation qualifies you to partner with God in reconciling others through Christ. Extend the ministry as God gives you opportunities this week to bring others into a saving relationship with Jesus.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, May 6th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Ministry, Reconciliation, Witness.
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May 5th, 2013

Exhibit the Miracle

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Exhibit the miracle; you are a new creation. In Christ, you are a new creation. The light of God’s love has illuminated your life and transformed your forever. You are no longer bound by the past. You are no longer a prisoner of sin. You have been purchased with the shed blood of Jesus.

God has placed you in the display window of life to present to others the grace He has lavished on you. You are a living exhibit of the grace of God. You were shown mercy in order that Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience in you as an example to others (1 Tim. 1:15-16). Portray the grace you have received. Encourage others in their journey by displaying the new creation God has redeemed you to be.

The new has come. In Christ, you have been re-created to bear His image and to bring forth His message of salvation. God has chosen you to exhibit the miracle you are in Christ. Don’t hide the grace God has extended you. Don’t conceal the mercy you have received. Continue to grow in your love relationship with Christ and choose to glow in this dark world. Allow the light of God’s love to radiate through the brokenness in your life. Portray the love of God by treating others the way God has graciously treated you.

You are a living miracle of the gracious work of God. He has pursued you with His unfailing love and rescued you from eternal damnation. God has made you a new creation. Exhibit the miracle you are in Christ.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, May 5th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Miracle, Transformation, Witness.
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April 25th, 2013

Suffering as a Christian

“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:16 (NIV)

When you received the gift of eternal life, you were saved by the grace of God. Your name was written in the Lamb’s book of life and your eternal security was sealed by the Holy Spirit. Your position in Christ is that of having a right relationship with God and a right relationship with others. The sacrificial death of Christ upon the cross provided you with a new identity, in Christ, as a child of God.

Receiving the benefits of salvation is a joy. However, what you may not have realized is that being a follower of Jesus Christ includes suffering. You cannot be on mission with God and give your life to fulfilling the Great Commission and live out the Great Commandment without an element of suffering. Going against the current of culture will produce a level of suffering. Combating the satanic opposition from the kingdom of darkness will generate a level of suffering. Denying yourself and crucifying the flesh in order to walk in the Spirit will spawn an encounter with suffering.

Do not be ashamed if you suffer as a Christian. Maybe you work in a difficult environment where Christianity is not well received. Maybe your home is not conducive to the reality of your Christianity. Perhaps being a Christian on your campus, at work, or in your home places you in the minority. Do not be ashamed. Give praise to God that you have high honor and privilege of bearing that name. You are Christ on your campus. You are Christ at your work. You are Christ in your home.

Everywhere you go, you are representing Jesus! You are continuing the ministry of Jesus on the earth by doing what He did. You wear His name and you bear His identity. Remember, you may be the only Jesus others see!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, Suffering, Witness.
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