Archive for the ‘Maturation’ Category

January 18th, 2009

Love In Action

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor 13:1-3 (NIV)

The “Love Chapter” has been read most often in weddings. Marriage is a portrait of love in that one spouse is to seek to meet the needs of the other spouse. Love is putting others first. Love flows from God because God is love (I John 4:8). As the Source of love, God demonstrated His love to us by allowing Christ to die in our place (Rom. 5:8). As you read the Bible, you will see a common thread of God’s love in action to restore fallen humanity. Love takes the initiative just as God took the initiative to bring us into a right relationship with Himself.

  • “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor 13:4-7 (NIV)
  • “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13 (NIV)

Is there anyone you find difficult to love? Choose to love that person not based on what they can do for you or based on what they have done for you or to you. Choose to love that person based on what God has done for you. Love is a choice. God chose to love you long before you chose to love Him. Now seek to love those Christ died for.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Growth, Love, Maturation.
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January 16th, 2009

Clarity and Maturity

“‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.’” Acts 26:16 (NIV)

Paul stood before King Agrippa to give witness to his personal salvation story. Paul was converted from a persecutor of the church to a preacher of the Gospel. He recalled his Damascus road experience in the hearing of King Agrippa and other bystanders. Bringing clarity to his life purpose, Paul identified his appointment by Christ as a servant and as a witness. Paul was investing his life in the process of knowing Jesus and making Jesus known.

Jesus affirmed that Paul was a servant and a witness of what Paul had seen of Jesus. Paul encountered Christ personally on the road to Damascus. This personal encounter was a defining moment for Paul that radically changed his forever. Not only was Paul’s eternal destiny changed, but his life mission was changed. The focus of Paul’s life became that of proclaiming Christ. In his letter to Timothy, Paul said, “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher(2 Tim 1:11 NIV).

What have you seen of Christ? Since your conversion experience, what have you seen of Christ? Is Jesus a living reality in your life? As Dr. Johnny Hunt says, “If you are going to reign in this life, Jesus must reign in your life.”

You have been appointed as a servant. In God’s display of mercy and grace, you have been appointed a witness of what you have seen of Christ. Jesus has more to show you! Are you ready for His revelation?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, January 16th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Clarity, Growth, Maturation.
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January 15th, 2009

Parenting the Messiah

“When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.” Luke 2:42-43 (NIV)

Can you imagine what it would have been like to parent the Messiah? How would you embrace the responsibility of parenting the Son of God? Joseph and Mary were devoted to God and faithful to the task. Jesus was unique in that He was the Son of God and was born of a virgin. It is important also to remember that Joseph and Mary had other children (Mt. 13:55-56).

If you have ever been separated from your children by accident, you know the terror of the experience. Your heart drops to your feet and your mind begins racing. You frantically search for your child until he or she is found. Your terror cascades into refreshing comfort. The restoration of your valued possession brings instant relief.

Jesus was left behind. As the massive caravan moved a day’s journey away from Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was not in their company. Luke tells us, “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions”(Luke 2:46 NIV). That must have been the longest three days of their lives up to that point.

Your parenting is not always going to be flawless. You will make mistakes along the way. You may experience some delays and detours along the way. However, you must position your parenting for impact. Ask God for wisdom to make decisions that will benefit your children and add value to their upbringing. Depend on God’s provision of grace to fill in the gaps where you may fall short. Only God can provide the way for you to parent your children His way!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Growth, Maturation, Messiah, Parenting.
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January 14th, 2009

Intentional Parenting

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deut 6:6-9 (NIV)

The people of God embraced this confession of faith, known as the Shema, to acknowledge their commitment to the One true God and their obedience to His commandments. Loving God and obeying His commands were the marching orders for the people of God to employ. This way of life was to be personal and familial. It was not enough to love God and obey His commands personally. This lifestyle of obedience to God was to be modeled faithfully and handed down intentionally.

With the privilege of parenting comes the awesome responsibility of modeling Christ in the home. God wants our homes to be a place of intentional parenting. As parents, we have been given the assignment to lead our children into a growing relationship with Christ. We are to model what God wants us to multiply through our children. The lifestyle of loving God and keeping His commandments is to be visible in our homes. Our children should not receive mixed signals from us as to what our God-given priorities are. We are to impress upon our children the commandments we have received from God that are upon our hearts.

A few years ago I had a parent meet with me to complain about their teenager picking up the habit of smoking. I then asked the parent, “Do you smoke?” The parent immediately affirmed that reality.

Why would a parent criticize a teenager for something the teenager learned from that parent? God wants us to intentionally model Christ before our children. God wants us to intentionally live lives of moral purity before our children.

What are you impressing upon your children? Are you leading them into a growing relationship with Jesus?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Growth, Intentionality, Maturation, Parenting.
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January 13th, 2009

Reflecting on Your Upbringing

“Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.” Luke 2:41 (NIV)

Growing up in a single-parent family after my parents divorced had its challenges. As one of my close friends likes to say, “A challenge is just an opportunity to excel in adverse circumstances.” As I reflect on my upbringing, the one constant in my life was weekly church participation. My mom brought my brother and me to church consistently with her each week. It was very evident that her walk with God was valuable to her and that her service to God through our local church was important. She faithfully modeled Christ before us and imparted the value of serving God. In the midst of adverse circumstances related to divorce, my mom demonstrated that serving God through the ministry of the local church was worth giving your life to.

Joseph and Mary exhibited religious devotion to God and to parenting their children. Each year they went to Jerusalem to participate in the Feast of the Passover. They annually celebrated what God did, as recorded in the Old Testament, when He allowed the destroyer to pass over the children of Israel because they had placed blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses (Ex. 12:7,13, 23). God’s mercy and grace were exhibited when He chose to “pass over” those who obeyed His command. Joseph and Mary were faithful to travel to Jerusalem each year to participate in this Jewish festival celebrating the Passover.

As you reflect on your upbringing, identify the spiritual heritage you received. What did your parents value? What did your parents model? Perhaps you have memories of a healthy spiritual upbringing that have added value to your life. Maybe you cannot recall favorable memories of a healthy spiritual upbringing. In God’s abundant provision of mercy and grace, you can begin establishing a healthy spiritual heritage to pass down to others. You can break generational spiritual neglect and begin to formulate a vibrant love relationship with God worth modeling before others.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Growth, Maturation, Parenting, Passover, Upbringing.
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