Archive for the ‘Transformation’ Category

December 24th, 2015

You Work Out As God Works In

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

We are not dependent upon any man, woman, or spiritual mentor in order to grow in our faith in Christ. No, for the Lord is at work within us! The same Spirit of God that raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit that inhabits us at our salvation, breathing in us new life and allowing us to work out the effects of our salvation. The Holy Spirit shapes and molds us into the image of Christ by revealing truth to us in the Word of God and convicting us over our sin.

He works on the inside of us so that we can work on the outside. As we are shaped into the image of Christ, we must begin to act like Him. Paul calls us later in chapter 2 to “do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Phil 2:14-15 ESV). Obviously, such behavior goes against human nature, but that is precisely the point. We act differently because we are different as a result of the gospel, and our actions testify to its transforming power.

Do you act differently as a result of the gospel? Do you practice the type of humility personified by Christ? Do you do everything without complaining or grumbling? You have been called to live as Christ, but you have also been empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit of God. Live in that power today to put on display the transforming power of Christ within you.

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, December 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Holy Spirit, Philippians, Transformation.
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December 17th, 2015

Do Not Be Conformed, but Transformed

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a transforming message, meaning that the truth contained therein is meant to be more than informative. This truth is meant to strike at the core of who we are and radically alter both the way we view the world and act in it. This type of reaction is very different from simple conformity. Conformity simply observes the rituals and practices of society generally and engages in them in order to be accepted. As you and I both know, however, this behavioral attestation can be very dangerous, as culture so often because of depravity leads one away from intimacy with the Lord rather than to it.

Paul’s challenge to us is clear. As followers of Christ, no longer must we look to our culture and the norms of the day as our standard of acceptance; rather, we must continually sacrifice our need for human acceptance for a greater acceptance in the Lord. In order to do this, then, we must radically offer our very lives to Christ, shaping and molding them in light of the truth of the gospel, making decisions and thinking thoughts that demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s power within us.

Today, commit to live a transformed life, looking only to the message of Christ as an example of salvific behavior. Do not become distracted by the interests of this world, once again conforming to its values and idols, but rather reject those for the supreme knowledge of Christ incarnate, crucified, and resurrected.

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, December 17th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Romans, Sacrifice, Transformation.
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November 12th, 2015

Are You Someone to Beware or Behold?

“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Luke 20:46-47 (ESV)

As the people of God, we are to put on display the character and nature of God, reflecting His goodness to a world in need. Specifically as those under the new covenant, we are to act in the empowerment of the Spirit through the transformative work of the gospel to bear fruit that evidences our new life in Him. We are to love as Christ has loved us. We are to be peaceful, patient, and kind, following the example of our great Savior. We are to be good, faithful, and gentle to those around us, seeking the good of others above self, and we are to be self-controlled, testifying to the incredible satisfying power of Christ. When we live in this way, we are accomplishing our purpose of bringing glory to God as all creation was intended to do.

A danger, however, exists for those who have learned the actions but failed to experience transformation. As religious people, we can come to appreciate action or service over discipleship and true restoration. Such is the case with the scribes mentioned in Jesus’ warning. They had the appearance of devotion, but were simply white-washed tombs (nice to look at on the outside but dead on the inside). They loved the honor of religion but lacked the heart of devotion reflective of the true, life-transforming love seen in Christ.

Where are you on this transformation spectrum? Have you truly been transformed by the gospel or is your relationship with the Lord more cultural or learned behavior? We are called to display the character and nature of God, and if we cannot do that in response to the gospel, then we are living lives Jesus says to beware of rather than behold. Seek to live faithfully in light of your calling 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, November 12th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Fruit of the Spirit, Luke, Transformation.
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August 17th, 2015

A Holy People Called to Represent a Holy God

“Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: ‘Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity.’” Jeremiah 10:1-3a (ESV)

The covenant people of God were called to transform the cultures around them, not be transformed by those cultures. Instead of representing God and His holiness to their neighboring nations, Israel chose to become consumed with their vain pursuits. They worshiped false gods and transgressed their covenant with the Lord. As a result, the Lord promised a reminder in the form of judgment.

We have the same calling as God’s new covenant people in Christ. We are called to proclaim the gospel and transform our culture, calling all people back to a right relationship with God. The same danger that entrapped the Israelites, however, still exists for us. We must be careful to not stumble into their vanity while trying to give them the gospel. Be sure you are the one transforming rather than being transformed.

In order to maintain your focus and abstain from the vain pursuits of man be sure you are walking in community with both the Lord and holy men. Spend time with the Lord so that you remember how He has delivered you and satisfied you in ways that the things this world offers never could. Further, have men and women around you who are pursuing the Lord in the same way so that if you are tempted, they can call you back into obedience.

The calling on our lives to represent God is of the utmost importance, because in representing Him we offer hope of fulfillment and purpose in Christ!

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, August 17th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Jeremiah, Transformation, Working for the Lord.
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January 31st, 2015

Walking with a Limp

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.” Genesis 32:24-25 (ESV)

As God’s workmanship, Jacob came away from the night of wrestling with a limp and a new name. You don’t come into close proximity with the living God and leave the same. God gave Jacob the name Israel, which means God prevails. Jacob was known as a deceiver, but God gave him a new name to live up to. Jacob would become the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Have you ever wrestled with God? Who won? Wrestling is part of being God’s workmanship. Jacob, as God’s workmanship, came to know God in a new way after a night of wrestling. Just like in weight training, without resistance there is no growth.

God allows us to go through seasons of uncertainty. God allows us to experience seasons of silence and yes, even seasons of suffering. We wrestle with God in those seasons. Our faith is challenged and often our prayer life is stretched. We come to know God by experience. Sometimes that experience involves pain.

God is for you. He is willing to go to any length to bring you into a vibrant, intimate, and growing relationship that is personal and eternal. God will pursue you and groom you so that you will be conformed into the image of Christ. Your life matters to God. After you encounter the Living God, you may walk with a limp to remind you of His daily provision.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, January 31st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Jacob, Transformation, Wrestling with God.
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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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August 18th, 2014

Renewing Your Mind

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

There is an immense gravitational pull to succumb to the allurements of the world. We combat the pattern of this world, the flaming arrows of the evil one, and the cravings of the flesh. Choosing to conform to the path of worldliness dilutes our spiritual passion and distorts our spiritual focus. We will bypass God’s best for us. We will forfeit God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.

God gives us the freedom to choose our path. We do not have to travel down the lane of lust or the highway of hostility or the sidewalk of selfishness. We can choose to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Floating down the river of culture and allowing the current of compromise to corrode our character is not God’s will for us. God did not sacrifice His only Son in order for us to drift into sin.

Renew your mind by replacing sin with Scripture, by replacing falsehood with truth, and by replacing self-centeredness with Christlikeness. Be transformed by renewing your mind. Scrape off the peeling paint of improper thinking and apply the fresh paint of God’s Holy Word. Your life is too valuable to allow corrupt thinking to occupy your mind. God’s plan for your life is too important to waste another moment allowing toxic thoughts to contaminate your mind.

Unload your mind! Make room for God’s Word to take full possession of your mind. Make a commitment to feed on God’s Word daily. Seek to memorize a verse each week, internalize that verse, and then align your thinking with that verse.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, August 18th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Will, Renewal, Transformation.
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August 5th, 2014

Being Shaped by the Potter

“And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” Jeremiah 18:4 (ESV)

Whenever you purchase an item that has an “as is” tag on it, you accept the fact that it may be flawed. In other words, the item may not be perfect.

The beauty of salvation is that God accepted us “as is” and brought us into a vibrant love relationship with Himself to move us from “as is” to “what could be” in His hands. Yes! We were marred in His hands. But, He lovingly and patiently removes the imperfections of our attitude, behavior, and speech.

Being on the Potter’s wheel can be painful at times. As God allows us to go through suffering and sorrow in this life, the areas of our life that do not reflect Christ-likeness will be dealt with. God will grow us through the pain. He will mold us and shape us through adversity.

Bathsheba endured some difficult seasons in her life. She experienced loneliness, grief, delays, disappointment, and shattered dreams. Yet, God redeemed all of those seasons in her life to bring her into a deeper relationship with Himself. She would have never become a Proverbs 31 woman without the adversity that God allowed her to face. She was marred in His hands. As a result of the loving touch of the Potter’s hands, she became a masterpiece!

Are you on the Potter’s wheel? Be patient. Allow God to mold you. He took you “as is” and He is shaping you for eternal significance.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Clay, Transformation.
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July 7th, 2014

Contagious Christianity

“And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’” Luke 2:27-32 (ESV)

Have you had a personal encounter with Christ that radically transformed your life? Simeon had positioned his life to encounter Christ. Once he encountered the Messiah, Simeon proclaimed that Jesus was a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to His people Israel. This proclamation was made in front of Joseph and Mary who were simply obeying the requirements of the custom of the Law.

Once Jesus comes into your life and transforms you, it is negligent to be silent. You have been rescued from the flames of hell and positioned in Christ for eternity. Proclaim that reality! You were sinking deep in sin, but Christ paid the penalty for your sin and purchased your salvation. Proclaim that reality!

What if you became contagious in your Christianity? What would happen if you seized the next opportunity God gives you to share your salvation story? Share the wonderful life-changing message of Jesus and help populate the Kingdom of Heaven. Souls are worth saving!

One way to get a pulse on someone’s spiritual destiny is to simply transition your conversation to life after death. Be willing to ask people where they plan to spend eternity. Ask them to share their spiritual story with you. If they have one, they will be quick to share it with you. If they don’t have a spiritual story, then you can help them establish one by sharing with them how they can know Jesus personally.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, July 7th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Transformation, Witnessing.
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May 25th, 2013

Renew and Render

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)

There is an immense gravitational pull to succumb to the allurements of the world. We combat the pattern of this world, the flaming arrows of the evil one, and the cravings of the flesh. Choosing to conform to the path of worldliness dilutes our spiritual passion and distorts our spiritual focus. We will bypass God’s best for us. We will forfeit God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.

God gives us the freedom to choose our path. We do not have to travel down the lane of lust or the highway of hostility or the sidewalk of selfishness. Floating down the river of culture and allowing the current of compromise to corrode our character is not God’s will for us. God did not sacrifice His only Son in order for us to drift into sin.

Renew your mind by replacing sin with Scripture, by replacing falsehood with truth, and by replacing self-centeredness with Christlikeness. Scrape off the peeling paint of improper thinking and apply the fresh paint of God’s Holy Word. Your life is too valuable to allow corrupt thinking to occupy your mind. God’s plan for your life is too important to waste another moment allowing toxic thoughts to contaminate your mind.

Unload your mind! Make room for God’s Word to take full possession of your mind. Make a commitment to feed on God’s Word daily. Seek to memorize a verse each week, internalize that verse, and then align your thinking with that verse.

Renew your mind and render your transformation. Let God control your thinking.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Living Sacrifices, Renew, Transformation.
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