Archive for February, 2008

February 29th, 2008

Life Changing Experience (4)

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Dan 3:16-18 (NIV)

Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever been in an environment that provided you with an opportunity to make a bold stand for the Lord? Maybe your home is a place where your faith is put to the test. Maybe your work environment has been a difficult place for you to express your faith. Swimming upstream is always a challenge. Whenever you decide to go in the opposite direction of the cultural current, you will face resistance and opposition.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of impending death if they chose not to abide by the king’s command, were willing to obey God at all costs. Instead of bowing to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they chose to honor God even if it meant death. They demonstrated their belief in God’s ability to save them from the blazing furnace. They went a step further by declaring that even if God did not deliver them that they would not worship the image of gold.

Do you have that kind of “but even if God does not” faith? Are you willing to obey God in the face of opposition and in the face of being misunderstood by your family or peers? Even if God does not deliver you from your difficult circumstances, are you willing to obey Him and honor Him?

The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They would not bow, they would not bend, they would not budge, and they would not burn! God rescued them through the blazing furnace. God allowed them to go through the fire unharmed. Now that’s a life changing experience!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 29th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abednego, Boldness, Faith, Life Changing Experience, Meshach, Obedience, Shadrach.
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February 28th, 2008

Life Changing Experience (3)

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

Isaiah had a life changing experience. He looked up and saw the Lord in all of His holiness. Isaiah looked inward and recognized his own sinfulness in light of God’s holiness. Isaiah then looked outward and detected the sinful condition of others. In this life changing experience, Isaiah heard God’s call and responded with instant obedience. Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Will you make an impact upon every generation? Are you willing to allow God to call you to a new level of living? God’s grace always matches His assignment for your life. Where God guides He always provides. There is never a better moment than now to obey God instantly and make yourself totally available for His use. God can do more in you and through you in the next six months than all the previous years of your life combined.

God values the work He does in you more than the work He does through you. Before God used Isaiah to make an eternal impact, God had to do an internal work in Isaiah’s life. The internal work always impacts the eternal work. Don’t bypass what God wants to do in you. Isaiah came face to face with the holiness of God in worship. Isaiah’s worship led to a personal assessment of his morality and then the morality of those around him. After God did this great work in Isaiah, He invited Isaiah to join His world redemptive activity.

You have a chance to make an eternal impact for every generation. Are you available? Look upward! Look inward! Look outward!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, February 28th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Availability, Isaiah, Life Changing Experience, Obedience.
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February 27th, 2008

Life Changing Experience (2)

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” Ex 3:11 (NIV)

Who am I? Why am I here? These two basic questions are innate in every human being. We long to know who we are and we strive to discover why we are placed on this planet called earth. Our security is proportionate to our understanding of our identity.

God allowed Moses to experience forty years in the palace and then forty years in the desert. God wanted Moses to learn some things about his personal identity through a desert experience that he could not learn in the palace. God was preparing Moses for the purpose of delivering the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. The burning bush encounter was a life changing experience for Moses. The encounter enabled Moses to come to know God in a personal way. God revealed His holiness to Moses and then unveiled His plan for Moses to embrace.

As you can imagine, Moses could not visualize himself as the deliverer of the children of Israel. They had been slaves for over 400 years. Moses began making excuses and tried to deny his usefulness to God. Moses began to focus on what he lacked and missed the reality of God’s ability to do the extraordinary through ordinary people.

Have you ever doubted your usefulness to God? Have you ever tried to convince God that you are not fit for His plan? God is not impressed with our abilities or our inabilities. God is not limited by our limitations. Are you willing to yield to God’s control and allow Him to have His way in your life? God is willing to take you through a desert experience to prepare you for His assignment.   

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Burning Bush, Life Changing Experience, Moses.
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February 26th, 2008

Life Changing Experience (1)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Gen 50:20 (NIV)

The sixty-six books of the Bible provide us with a string of pearls that demonstrates God’s redemptive activity. Long before we were born, God took the initiative to rescue us from our fallen condition. God factors in our poor choices and even the decisions others make that affect our lives. How refreshing to know that God has the final say. Your past, present, and future circumstances will never circumvent the mighty acts of God.

Joseph had a life changing experience through the gateway of betrayal. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and tried to cover up their sin through deception. God elevated Joseph to Potipher’s house where he was later falsely accused by Potipher’s wife. Joseph went from the pit to the palace and then to prison. His life’s circumstances appeared to be most unfortunate. Yet, God knew right where Joseph was and what Joseph needed most. God was with Joseph and delivered him from prison to second in command over Egypt in preparation for the upcoming famine. When Joseph’s path intersected that of his brothers, he demonstrated the life giving grace of God. Instead of having them pay for their sin, Joseph forgave them and acknowledged God’s sovereignty.

Have you had the ultimate life changing experience by placing your faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross? Are you living out the reality of God’s transforming power? Have you experienced God’s forgiveness at the level of being able to forgive others in the same measure?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Joseph, Life Changing Experience, Sovereignty.
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February 25th, 2008

Bridger Generation (7)

“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Tim 1:5 (NIV)

Today is my dad’s birthday. He is now on the spiritual path to finish well. However, when I was a child, my dad became an alcoholic which led to my parents’ divorce and ultimately to his imprisonment. As a result, my dad was not an integral part of my upbringing. When I look over my childhood, the one constant in my life was church. My mother and my mamaw made certain that I went to church with them each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. My mother played the piano and my mamaw played the organ.

God used that consistency in my life to allow me to be under the influence of the gospel each week in Sunday School, in worship, and in my church’s basketball league. God brought godly men into my life at church that would take me fishing, camping, and hunting. I watched those men closely to see how they treated their wives and their children. On March 28, 1979, I gave my heart to the Father who would never let me down. Jesus became the Lord of my life and He also became my Heavenly Daddy!

Paul identified the sincere faith that Timothy’s mother and grandmother exhibited before him consistently. Timothy became a follower of Christ and devoted his life to teaching and preaching God’s Word. I love how Paul affirms the sincere faith that first lived in Timothy’s grandmother and mother.

Are you handing down the faith? Is your faith sincere? Will the next generation be able to look at your life and see the reality of Jesus and His Lordship? 

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Influence, Legacy, Scripture.
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February 24th, 2008

Bridger Generation (6)

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim 4:12 (NIV)

After being involved in a life altering Jet Ski accident and surrendering to preach at age sixteen, I remember officiating one of my first weddings. I was standing near the altar steps just before the wedding rehearsal was to begin when the mother of the bride asks, “Where’s the minister?”

When I announced that I was the minister, you should have seen her face fall. She reacted by darting out the words of surprise that, in her estimation, I was just a kid. Those were the “good old days.”

Paul’s words of encouragement and instruction to his young son in the ministry have been a life-line over the years of my ministry. Every generation has the honor of participation in God’s redemptive activity. Regardless of your current life stage, whether you are in the Bridger, Buster, Boomer, or Builder generation, you have the wonderful invitation from God for participation in God’s world redemption story.

Don’t allow your inadequacies and insufficiencies to barricade you from joining God in His activity. Your usefulness to God is not based on your particular generational identification. Your usefulness to God is based on your identity in Christ and your availability to Christ.

Surrender to the Lordship of Christ and be an example to others in your conversation, your convictions, and your conduct. Every person in every generation will one day stand before God to give an account for the deeds done while in the body. Set a Christ-honoring example for others. Be a model to follow!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, February 24th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Example, Youth.
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February 23rd, 2008

Bridger Generation (5)

“‘And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’” Matt 18:5-6 (NIV)

Jesus loves the little children.

As you read these powerful words of Christ, you may be offended by the strong language used. Jesus does not water down His conviction about the vitality and vulnerability of children. Jesus confronts us with the reality that the children are our responsibility. If we choose to mislead them, we will suffer the consequences. If we choose to guide them in the way of the Lord, we will be blessed. 

The vast majority of those who come to place their faith in Christ alone for salvation do so before the age of twelve. Children exhibit tenderness toward the things of God. They are so open to what God wants to do in their lives and through their lives. Children are like tender clay in the hands of a potter. God has given us the responsibility to help mold them and shape them into fully devoted followers of Christ.

With this awesome privilege comes tremendous responsibility. Jesus wants us to take our responsibility of influencing children toward Him seriously. Think of what is at stake when children are misled. Not only is their immediate future jeopardized, but also their eternal destiny.

I am so grateful for the godly men and women that God placed in my life during my formative years to point me to Jesus. They faithfully modeled the Christ-centered life. Every generation deserves to be lead to the foot of the cross and introduced to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Are you in?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Children, Faith, Jesus.
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February 22nd, 2008

Bridger Generation (4)

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Matt 18:1-4 (NIV)

Every generation can only enter the kingdom of heaven one way. Through repentance and childlike faith, a person from any generation can enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus not only solidifies the method of entry, but He also identifies the measure of greatness in the kingdom of heaven. The road to greatness is paved in humility.

Children have the wonderful capacity to believe. They want to believe that anything is possible and they can dream some amazing dreams. Being around children has a contagious factor of faith. The simplicity of their faith can also be very convicting for those who have become too familiar with the cognitive realm. Children have the refreshing quality of demonstrating humility in their willingness to acknowledge their need for comfort, love, and acceptance.

What will the next generation see in you? Will the Bridger generation be convinced that repentance and childlike faith in Jesus is the answer by simply observing the way you live? Your conversation and conduct immersed in humility for God’s glory will demonstrate to a watching world the reality of kingdom citizenship.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Children, Jesus.
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February 21st, 2008

Bridger Generation (3)

“Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.” Luke 8:40-42 (NIV)

Have you ever been desperate? Our natural tendency is to be strong and independent and seek to figure things out on our own. However, in those seasons of desperation, we recognize that we are finite and that God is infinite. God has a way of reminding us of our dependency upon Him. Sometimes the reminder comes in the package of suffering.

The ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, was suffering as a parent as he watched his only daughter at the tender age of twelve lay dying. Jairus sought Jesus and fell at His feet. Jairus was in a season of desperation and pleaded with Jesus to come to his house to rescue his dying daughter. On His way, Jesus was interrupted by the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus healed this woman and then the report came that Jairus’ daughter had died.

  • “Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’” Luke 8:50 (NIV)
  • When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’” Luke 8:51-52 (NIV)
  • “They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.” Luke 8:53-55 (NIV)

Jesus is the answer for every generation. The Bridger generation, those born between 1984 and 2002, has needs that only Jesus can meet. Will you be available to share Jesus with the next generation? Those in desperation need a demonstration of the love that Jesus provides.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Death, Jesus, Miracle.
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February 20th, 2008

Bridger Generation (2)

“‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Luke 2:49-50 (NIV)

The secret to concentration is elimination.

Our life on planet earth is full of distractions. It can be very difficult to focus on what really matters in this life. There are so many tugs and so many allurements. Just examine the Bridger generation for a few moments and you will notice how they are bombarded with unlimited options for entertainment. How do you get children to focus on things of eternal value when they are saturated with external impulses?

In the Bible, we get a glimpse of Jesus at the age of twelve. While Joseph and Mary were in the caravan headed home, Jesus was in the temple sitting among the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. Three days later, Joseph and Mary return to Jerusalem in search of Jesus. You can imagine their consternation and relief when they found Him. Jesus responded to them by clarifying that He had to be in His Father’s house being about His Father’s business.

  • “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:51-52 (NIV)
  • “‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’” John 4:34 (NIV)

Jesus oriented His life around His Heavenly Father’s agenda. Are you investing in the next generation at that level of intensity? Are you passionately giving your life to our Heavenly Father’s agenda? There’s an entire generation to reach for God’s glory. Are you in?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bridger Generation, Focus, Jesus, Obedience.
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