Archive for August, 2007

August 31st, 2007

Connected

“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)

Is anyone tracking you spiritually? Are you in a weekly environment where you can know and be known, love and be loved, care and be cared for? In other words, are you connected to a small group in weekly Bible study?

In this verse, God is describing the Body of Christ, the church, connected to each other in close relationship. The connectivity is realized by every person supporting each other, growing together, and serving together.

We do better together. God wants His family walking together in close proximity. There is danger is being loosely affiliated with a church. God wants you to be deeply rooted and connected to His local body through a small group Bible study. In the church that I serve in, we call our small group Bible study environments Sunday School.

Are you connected? Are supporting, growing, and serving together with other believers in your life stage?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, August 31st, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Connected.
Interact No Comments
August 30th, 2007

Community

“There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Eph 4:4-6 (NIV)

What do you have in common with those in your sphere of influence? If you look closely you be able to discover some common ground even with those different from you.

God loves variety. Take a snapshot of creation. View the landscape, wildlife, and aquatic life and you will quickly ascertain that God values variety.

God specializes in diversity. There are no two people alike. There are more than 12,000 people groups on our planet of 6.4 billion people. The wonder of God is displayed when He brings unity in the midst of diversity.

For example, there are over 400,000 churches in the United States. Each church is unique and diverse. Yet, God produces unity in the midst of diversity. That unity is the common unity that forms community within the local fellowship of believers.

Spend some time today looking for God’s evidence of unity in the midst of diversity. Try to detect the common unity that God creates among those who have been adopted into His family.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Community.
Interact No Comments
August 29th, 2007

Character

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph 4:3 (NIV)

Reputation is based on how others perceive you. Character is what you are in private. Character is revealed in crisis. Or another way to say it is that crisis reveals character.

Unity flows out of the character of Christ being developed in the life of a believer. God uses every circumstance and situation to build Christ’s character in us. Christlikeness is a process.

  • “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29 (NIV)
  • “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
  • “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” 1 Cor 15:33 (NIV)

God works to conform us into the likeness of Christ. God allows us to experience suffering which is vital in forming the character of Christ in us. God sprinkles godly people into our lives to model Christlikeness as well. Then there are times when we make poor decisions concerning the people we allow to influence our lives. The Bible calls them “bad company.”

Are you allowing God to have His way in your life? Do you view suffering from God’s perspective? What kind of people are you being influenced by? Is the character of Christ being formed in you?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Character.
Interact No Comments
August 28th, 2007

Conduct

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Eph 4:1-2 (NIV)

What does a life worthy of the calling you have received look like? It looks like humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance in action. It is not enough to know to do right. You must place into action what you know. Application is the activation of faith. Notice how Jesus describes such a life.

  • “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt 7:24-27 (NIV)

Jesus authenticates that hearing God’s Word is not enough. You must put feet to your faith by putting into practice God’s Word. Application determines whether you are building on sand or on the rock. James affirms the teaching of Christ.

  • “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17 (NIV)

Is your faith dead or alive? Take a close look at your conduct both in private and in public. What does your conduct declare about your faith? Are you obeying what you know? Is your conduct consistent with the character of Christ?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Conduct.
Interact 1 Comment
August 27th, 2007

Alone

Is it possible to be in a crowd of thousands and still feel alone? We overload our lives with the confetti of activities and saturate our schedule with deadlines and diversions. We tend to over commit and anesthetize our pain through the avenue of busyness. Constantly and persistently we are running from the lurking shadow of aloneness.

Have you identified the first “not good” in the Bible? After all that God had made and affirmed that it was good, He created man and then…

“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” Gen 2:18 (NIV)

What’s wrong with man being alone? Why would God created man with a gap? There must be something to this aloneness that is counterproductive. Man being alone must not be a good thing in God’s economy. Man alone may be prone to fill the void with something wrong.

God made man for relationship. God’s antidote to Adam’s aloneness was the creation of Eve. Adam experienced the “not good” of being alone until he met Eve. God designed Adam with a gap that only Eve could fill.

Marriage is a beautiful portrait of two becoming one flesh. Did you know that in temptation, Satan seeks to make the two, who have become one, two again? His goal is to create division, dysfunction, and distraction.

Jesus alone brings us into harmony with God. God has built us for relationship and companionship. How are your relationships?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, August 27th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Alone.
Interact No Comments
August 26th, 2007

More

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph 3:20-21 (NIV)

There’s more to explore! You are finite and God is infinite. You are limited. God is unlimited. You are vulnerable. God is invincible. You were born. God is eternal. He has always been and He will always be. You are flawed. God is perfect. You are weak. God is strong. You become. God is.

In Christ you receive all that He is. The challenge is to discover what you have in Christ. The greater your awareness of His Presence in your life the greater the results. It’s not that you need more of Christ. He wants more of you. You have all of Christ. Does He have all of you?

God can do more than you ask or imagine. God can do more than you can fathom. He is able. He is able to bring victory and deliverance into any area of your life. God is able to help you overcome any harmful habit, hurt, or hang-up. He is able to bring relief to a broken heart. He is able to lift you up when you are feeling down. God is able to take an impossible situation and produce a miracle.

Spend a few moments in prayer asking God to heighten your awareness of His Presence in your life. Look to see where He is at work today so that you can join Him. There’s more to explore! There’s more to God than what you currently know.

Are you facing anything right now that is bigger than you? God is able!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 26th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category More.
Interact No Comments
August 25th, 2007

Abounding Fullness

Commercials, billboards, and newspaper advertisements remind us how food driven our society has become. We are always asking about and searching for our next meal. Then we eat as though it is our last meal and then announce, “I’m full!”

Have you been there? Have you ever been so full that it hurt? God has given us an appetite for food.

There’s another appetite that God has given us that cannot be satisfied by food. At salvation, God gives us a new nature that passionately desires His agenda, His desires, and His mission. His fullness becomes our reality.

  • “…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:19 (NIV)
  • “…and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” Col 2:10 (NIV)

When you receive God’s gift of eternal life by placing your faith in Jesus alone for salvation, you receive the fullness of God in Christ. You are complete in Christ. Salvation is an event where you receive the fullness of Christ. Sanctification is a process where Christ gets more and more of you.

Have you fully surrendered your life to Jesus? Are you allowing Him to be Lord over every area of your life? Will the fullness of Christ be evident in your life today?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, August 25th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Abounding Fullness.
Interact No Comments
August 24th, 2007

Indescribable Love

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–” Eph 3:17-19 (NIV)

Is it possible to comprehend the love of Christ? Think about the person in your life who you feel currently loves you more than anyone else on the planet. Now that’s a barge overflowing with love! However, that amount does not even come close to comparing to the love of Christ.

Interestingly, Paul clarifies that for a believer to grasp the love of Christ requires God’s power. You must have the power of God to live the Christian life. You must also employ God’s power to be able to grasp the width, length, height, and depth of Christ’s love.

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)
  • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)
  • “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

Have you come to know the love of Christ by experience? Are you allowing His love for you to impact how you treat others?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, August 24th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Indescribable Love.
Interact No Comments
August 23rd, 2007

Abiding Relationship

We are by nature acceptance magnets and approval addicts. We want others to admire us and to affirm us. I heard about a basketball coach who instructed his players to always acknowledge their teammate who passed the ball to them which enabled them to make the shot. One of the players responding by asking the coach, “What if they aren’t looking?”

The coach responded by saying, “They’ll be looking!”

Why would a basketball player who passed the ball off for a teammate to make a shot want to be acknowledged for his selflessness? He longs for acceptance, approval, admiration, and affirmation.

The ultimate demonstration of acceptance and approval is Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and being raised to life for our justification. The ultimate actualization of His acceptance and approval is the fact that He permanently dwells in our heart.

“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Eph 3:17 (NIV)

Jesus moves in so that we can have an abiding relationship with Him. To abide means to dwell and to take up residence and to feel at home. Is Jesus at home in your life? Have you given Him access to every area of your life? 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Abiding Relationship.
Interact No Comments
August 22nd, 2007

Inner Strength

God never intended for you to live the Christian life outside of His power. In fact, it is impossible to live the Christian life without God’s power. For the believer, it is not a matter of being without God’s power. It is a matter of not appropriating the power God gives you when you are adopted into His family. Notice the progression of power in these three passages of Scripture.

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:18-21 (NIV)

Activation of God’s power comes by trusting that God has the power to do what He has promised. Here is an example of a promise that every believer can claim.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)

You do not ask God to give you something you already have in Christ. God promises that you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you simultaneously at conversion and that you will be His witness locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” Eph 3:16 (NIV)

At salvation, you received the Person of the Holy Spirit. He moved in as a permanent resident into His temple, your body.

God gives you an inner strength so that you can fulfill the Great Commission in your generation. His strength is made perfect in your weakness!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Inner Strength.
Interact No Comments