Archive for the ‘Unity’ Category

December 18th, 2015

Unity

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7 (ESV)

Unity is important. Unity in the body of Christ is important because of how diverse people from different socioeconomic backgrounds who have different interests in life come together in love to accomplish the overarching purpose of growing the Kingdom of God and reflect the power of the gospel. As Christ Himself said, people know we are His children by how we love one another, as such love is impossible to possess without the spirit of God doing a transforming work within us (John 13:35).  The way we live in harmony with one another says something about the truth of the message of Jesus. Unity is important.

Unity is also hard. Notice that Paul, in writing to the Romans about living in harmony with one another, calls upon God to grant His people both endurance and encouragement. What an interesting combination of attributes Paul asks the Lord to share! Why would he ask for these things? Well, the second is rather obvious, as certainly we are constantly in need of encouragement to remember both the goal of the Christian and the motivation for seeing it through. We must be continually reminded of Christ’s superlative nature in comparison to all other things.

Endurance, though, seems to be a bit more unusual, unless of course you have spent much time trying to protect unity. Even though the true people of the Church are regenerate, they have not yet become perfect, meaning that they still sin and mess up. As a result, feelings get hurt, promises are broken, and relationships fall apart from unwarranted suspicions and careless words. To pursue unity, then, in the midst of such hurt is hard work. To commit to let personal feelings and justified anger go requires a great deal of personal sacrifice for the good of the whole, motivated by Christ’s actions as seen in vs. 7.

We must extend grace to one another as the people of God, committing to live in harmony with our spiritual family no matter the difficulty, understanding that such unity in the midst of enormous diversity reflects the heart of our Heavenly Father and the power of the gospel over sin.

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, December 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Endurance, Romans, Unity.
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May 9th, 2015

Ensure Unity

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3 (ESV)

Division breeds disunity. The absence of unity signals the presence of division. Where there is division, there are two visions. God’s vision for us is that we will dwell together in unity. As His children, we are the body of Christ. Unity in the midst of diversity is a mark of spiritual maturity. God desires that we do life together in unity as fellow believers in His family.

  • “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesian 4:1-3 (ESV)
  • “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8 (ESV)

Ensuring unity requires sympathy, sensitivity, and humility. Love compels you to place the needs of others before your own. Love inspires you to forfeit your own personal agenda in order to embrace God’s agenda. In humility, you ensure unity by being considerate of others and being conscientious of God’s will.

Think about the health of the relationships in your life at this time. Is there anyone sowing discord? Is there anything creating suspicion and eroding trust? Do your part to confront the disunity in order to ensure unity.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 9th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Protection, Psalms, Unity.
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February 18th, 2015

Collaboration

“All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.” Exodus 35:29 (ESV)

God instructed Moses on the specific design of the features of the Tabernacle. As Moses spoke to the people of Israel, God moved their heart to respond with a demonstration of generosity. All the men and women whose heart moved them brought various items to contribute to the construction of the Tabernacle including the furnishings. The people were mobilized to bring their assets as a freewill offering to the Lord. Every person was valuable and every gift added value to the project.

  • “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” 1 Cor 12:4-6 (ESV)

God has graced you with gifts to honor Him and to benefit others. What will you do with what God has given you? How will you unleash generosity to invest in the work of the Lord? We do better together and God desires that we work together to accomplish His master plan.

There is power in collaboration. When we link hands and arms with fellow believers, we are igniting a bond that honors God and is expressed through serving others. We can come together to model the generous love of God by making personal sacrifices to fulfill His will.

Everybody is somebody in the family of God. God has saved and equipped every child of God to be on mission with God in order to continue the ministry of Jesus. What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing? What do you need to continue doing?

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Generosity, Tabernacle, Unity.
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October 25th, 2014

God’s Kind of Love

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Can you imagine life without love? Can you imagine doing life as a family without love? Can you imagine being part of a church where love is absent? God made us to know His love and to make His love known. God created us to build meaningful relationships with others in response to His love for us and in us.

What does that kind of love look like? That kind of love looks just like Jesus. Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus does not envy, He does not boast, and He is not proud. Jesus is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, and He keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Will your name fit there? Are you living in such a way as to embody God’s love? God has placed you in a fallen world to continue the ministry of Jesus. You are here to know God’s love and to make His love known by building meaningful relationships with others. Will those who know you, but don’t know Jesus, come to know Jesus because they know you?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Love, Unity.
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October 24th, 2014

Portray God’s Love

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14 (ESV)

Love is the fuel that ignites compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. As you experience God’s love personally, you will unleash His love freely. Loving others will be a byproduct of your personal encounter of God’s love for you. God is not asking you to do anything that He has not already done for you. His love in you is available to express to others. Love keeps your spiritual wardrobe in unity.

  • “’By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’” John 13:35 (ESV)
  • “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11 (ESV)

Is it clearly evident that you are a fully devoted follower of Christ? Are you loving others the way God loves you? Your discipleship is demonstrated through your treatment of others. When you love others the way God has loved you, the reality of your love relationship with God becomes obvious. Portray God’s love by expressing God’s love to every person you come into contact with.

You will find that some people are very easy to love and some people are more challenging to love. Choose to love people based on God’s love for you and in you. Place the same value on others that God does. God loves them perfectly and completely. Allow His unconditional love to flow through you in this love-deficient world. People need to know God’s love. God has chosen you to be the conduit of His love.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Love, Others, Unity.
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April 21st, 2014

Unified in Prayer

“‘And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’” Luke 24:49 (ESV)

Just before ascending to heaven, Jesus instructed the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received what His Father had promised. Jesus affirmed that they would be clothed with power from on high. Upon arrival in the Upper Room, the hundred and twenty believers joined constantly together in prayer (Acts 1:14). They were unified in prayer awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

How long did they have to wait? Ten days! That would be considered a long prayer meeting. Why did Jesus wait ten days to send the Promised Holy Spirit? Perhaps the hundred and twenty believers needed ten days to purge their lives from sin, selfishness, and strained relationships. Maybe the believers had to extend and receive forgiveness. It is possible that the Lord wanted to give them time to adjust their lives to His agenda.

Unified prayer honors the Lord. If you want to see God at work in your life and around you, begin to join other believers in unified prayer. Passionately pursue God in prayer and allow Him to reveal unconfessed sin in your life. Allow God to illuminate the level of your spiritual devotion and the reality of your sensitivity to His activity. Invite God to search your heart and to reveal anything in your life that does not bring Him pleasure.

Praying in unity with other believers moves the heart of God. You will form a special bond with those you pray with and enjoy the fellowship God produces. Make room in your life for unified prayer.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Holy Spirit, Prayer, Unity.
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February 11th, 2014

Spiritual Maturity

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (ESV)

Where do you fit in this picture? God has placed equippers in your life to help you develop into a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. God has placed a systematic process within the local church to promote spiritual maturity. Are you an intentional part of the process?

Take a close look at your level of participation in the life of the local church family. Are you being built up? Are you reaching unity in the faith and in the knowledge of Jesus and becoming mature? Are you attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ? What is your level of teachability?

Your spiritual maturity will be proportionate to your teachability. Are you teachable as you listen to your pastor’s message? Are you teachable as you sit under the teaching of a godly small group leader? Are you teachable as you spend time alone with God in prayer and Bible reading?

Make the most of the opportunities God has given you to grow spiritually. Maximize the moments you sit under anointed teaching from God’s Word. Move from hearing and reading God’s Word to applying God’s Word in daily living. Live out what God is depositing in you.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Growth, Spiritual Maturity, Unity.
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June 12th, 2013

Organizational Stability & Serving

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Who are you serving? The answer to that question changes everything. Once you decide to serve the Lord, your life becomes intentional. You begin to live on purpose. In serving Jesus, you are drawn to connect with His family. Jesus is in charge!

  • “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Eph. 1:22-23 (NIV)
  • “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph. 4:16 (NIV)

Stability flows from the Head, Jesus, down to the members of His Body, the church. The church is connected and held together by every supporting member. The design is for the church to grow and build itself up as each member does his or her part. Serving together as a team produces organizational stability.

The local church is an organism that God grows as we serve. Stability is the byproduct of a church family serving together in unity. Unity produces stability.

Does that describe the church you are connected to? Are you soaking or serving? Are you a spectator or a participator? Are you a consumer or a contributor? Commit to protect the unity of the church you are connected to. Pray for unity.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Serving, Stability, Unity.
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June 11th, 2013

Practical Unity & Serving

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Mark 2:3-5 (NIV)

Are you carrying your corner? What if one of the men decided not to carry his corner? Would the paralytic have made it to Jesus and received healing? Jesus saw their faith and healed the paralytic. Each man was carrying his corner.

When you serve through the ministry of the local church with others, God produces the practical unity to fulfill His plan. God honors the unified body of believers who are committed to being on mission with Him.

Unity is a mark of spiritual maturity. Jesus exemplified unity in His relationship with our Heavenly Father and with His disciples. In His priestly prayer, Jesus prayed that we would demonstrate that same unity. “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23 NIV).

Have you been brought to complete unity with the local expression of the Body of Christ, His Church? Is there anyone that you need to make things right with? Don’t hesitate to do the right thing in order to honor God and to bring unity to His Body. Do whatever it takes to ensure unity. Serving the one who offended you will produce practical unity.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Serving, Spiritual Maturity, Unity.
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May 28th, 2013

Protect Unity

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)

God’s will is for you to believe in Jesus alone for salvation and to belong to His local body of believers known as the church. When you are saved you are adopted into God’s forever family and then you choose to connect with a local church where you can grow spiritually and serve faithfully.

Every member is important. In God’s economy, every member of the local body of believers matters to God. God graces you with salvation and with spiritual gifts so that you can honor God and benefit the body of Christ. In Christ, we form one body.

Every member has the responsibility to protect the unity of the body. Choose to diffuse gossip and infuse an attitude of gratitude throughout the body. Gossip is when you say something behind another person’s back that you would not say to their face. Flattery is when you say something to a person’s face that you would not say behind their back. Don’t glide into the gully of gossip.

Protect the unity of the church you are connected to. Believe in Jesus and demonstrate the privilege and responsibility of belonging to Christ and His local body of believers. Testify of His redeeming love in your life and protect the unity of His local church by being intentional in your conversation and conduct.

Sometimes protecting unity involves confronting others who are sowing discord. God empowers you to speak the truth in love. Don’t allow the weeds of this world to grow in the garden of God’s family.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Division, Living Sacrifices, Unity.
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