Archive for April, 2008

April 30th, 2008

Surrendered Life (3)

“‘The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.’” John 12:25-26 (NIV)

Victory comes through surrender.

Why did you wake up this morning? What are you giving your life to today? Who are you living for? God is working all things together for His glory and for your good. Today matters! God desires to conform you into the image of Christ. Christlikeness does not come without your willingness to fully surrender your life to the Holy Spirit’s control. As you choose to lose your life, the life of Christ becomes more evident in you.

Consider embracing the attitude of servitude. Allow Jesus to live His life in you and through you. There’s room only for one to take the reigns to your life. Will you give Jesus His rightful place in your life? You cannot live the life God has for you apart from Christ in you. Even on your best day, you will come up short of God’s perfection.

  • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20 (NIV)
  • “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27 (NIV)

Live by faith in the Son of God. Christ is in you and He is the hope of glory. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ and continue to follow His lead. Victory in this life comes through daily surrender to the One who gave His life for you.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Hope, Sacrifice, Servant, Serve.
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April 29th, 2008

Surrendered Life (2)

“‘I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’” John 12:24 (NIV)

Are you dying to live? God has placed within you unlimited potential. God created you to share His love and to shine His light. Your life purpose is to bring glory to God. There’s no higher calling and there’s no greater commission to give your life to than that of bringing glory to God. Are you living the life God has given?

The seed must die. In order for the potential within the seed to be unleashed, the seed must die. Without death, the seed will not germinate. Growth and development are dependent upon the seed dying.

In the life of the believer, death to self is vital. The child of God must surrender his or her personal agenda, personal aspirations, and personal ambitions. Choosing to sacrifice your personal preferences in light of God’s best for you is a crucial decision.

  • “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’” Gen 22:2 (NIV)

Is there an “Isaac” in your life that God wants you to be willing to sacrifice? Is there something in your life that needs to die in order for you to live the life God has for you?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Brokenness, Death, Potential, Seed, Surrender.
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April 28th, 2008

Surrendered Life (1)

“Jesus replied, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’” John 12:23 (NIV)

Victory comes through surrender.

Our culture teaches you to take control of your life. Be the best! Give it your all! Get all you can! Be happy! Win at all costs! Reality shows have glamorized the self-centered life. The persistent themes suggest that your best life is all about you and what you can acquire during your short stay on this planet.

Jesus demonstrated the opposite pursuit. Jesus left it all in Heaven so that He could come to earth, live and die a sinless death, be resurrected on the third day, and ascend back to His Father in Heaven. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Jesus oriented His life around the centrality of bringing glory to God.

  • “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2 (NIV)
  • “‘Father, glorify your name!’” John 12:28 (NIV)

Jesus willingly put others first. He willingly endured the agony of crucifixion and looked to the resulting outcome of saving mankind and bringing glory to God.

Your best life is not your life! Victory comes through surrender. Are you willing to follow the example of Christ and place God’s agenda first in your life? Are you willing to reflect honor to God? Live in such a way that those who know you, but don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Paradox, Submission, Sufficiency, Surrender.
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April 27th, 2008

Assessing Your Worship

“And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’” Exodus 3:12 (NIV)

How’s your worship? Is God the object of your affection and the recipient of your relentless pursuit? God wants you to worship Him and no other. God wants you to display your love and affection for Him both in private worship and in public worship.

Moses encountered God at the burning bush. This divine appointment was a life-changing experience for Moses. God provided Moses with the blessing of an Egyptian upbringing and now God is teaching Moses some things in the desert that he couldn’t learn in the palace. God reveals Himself to Moses. Moses comes to know God in His holiness and righteousness. God instructs Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and to bring them to the mountain to worship God corporately.

God demands our worship. God deserves our worship. Spend some time in private worshiping God for who He is. Express your love to God by praising Him. Make a commitment to take your private worship to church. Join other believers in public worship. Seek to express your love to God with fellow believers in worship just like you do in your private worship. God alone is worthy of your worship and your praise!

Assess your worship. Is your private worship consistent and persistent? Do you draw near to God? How’s your public worship? Are you joining other believers in a weekly celebration of God’s Presence? Do you give God your best in your expression of worship?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, April 27th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Burning Bush, Moses, Private Worship, Public Worship, Worship.
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April 26th, 2008

Obstacles to Abundant Life (5)

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Cor 16:13 (NIV)

Get on your toes and be aware, be alert, and be armed.

The Devil is real. Spiritual warfare is a reality of the life God has for you. This is not a time to embrace spiritual apathy or lethargy. Choose to live in the opposition readiness mode. God has given you everything you need to reign victoriously in this life.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Eph 6:18 (NIV)

Get on your knees and pray.

Praying is like flying; when you stop you drop! Nothing will keep you standing like kneeling before the Lord. Prayer is your life-line. Prayer is your communication connection to the Commander-in-Chief. Stay close and clean. Strive for unbroken fellowship with God.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12 (NIV)

Get on your feet and fight.

Move from the posture of kneeling in prayer to that of standing to your feet to face the enemy. The armor of God will protect you. God has armed you for battle. Stand firm! Fight the good fight! You may lose some battles, but as a child of the King, you win the war! Satan has been defeated!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abundant Life, Awareness, Life, Prayer.
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April 25th, 2008

Obstacles to Abundant Life (4)

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

The Devil beneath you is another obstacle to abundant life. Satan’s mission is to disrupt and to dismantle God’s agenda. As a result, the enemy seeks to attack that which is closest to God’s heart, namely, God’s children. Whenever you are under attack, remember that as a child of God you are a threat to Satan. When you choose to walk in the way of Jesus, you show up on Satan’s radar.

  • “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Cor 11:14 (NIV)
  • “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12 (NIV)

The life God has for you will be opposed. Satan does not want you to experience the abundant life God has for you. Some of Satan’s tools are: discouragement, disillusionment, distractions, depression, doubt, and drifting. The Enemy’s goal is to get you to drift from God’s best. Often, the Devil will sprinkle allurements along the way to try to get you to take a short cut or to bypass your allegiance to Christ.

Be alert! Be aware! Stand firm! You are a soldier in the Lord’s army!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abundant Life, Devil, Opposition.
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April 24th, 2008

Obstacles to Abundant Life (3)

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 (NIV)

One obstacle to abundant life is the flesh within you. Another obstacle to abundant life is the world around you. The world around you is opposed to the Jesus in you. The cultural current is anti-Christian. The world’s values will not be in alignment with the values of the follower of Christ. The way of Jesus is counter-culture. You will likely be in the minority as you live out your faith in a fallen world.

  • “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’” John 16:33 (NIV)
  • “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)

Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer reflects the environment and a thermostat sets the environment. God has called you to influence the culture instead of allowing the culture to influence you. The abundant life that God gives is not found on the broad road that leads to destruction. His abundant life is found on the narrow road. Consider the environments that God has placed you in to influence for His glory. Are you overcoming the obstacles and seizing the opportunities to make Jesus known?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, April 24th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abundance, Abundant Life, Opposition, Worldliness.
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April 23rd, 2008

Obstacles to Abundant Life (2)

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 (NIV)

Sometimes your greatest obstacle is you.

Paul gave us insight into the civil war within him. Though a seasoned believer and a mature follower of Jesus Christ, Paul wrestled with his old sin patterns. His flesh kept calling him back to the old ways. He experienced the gravitational pull of the flesh.

In the Old Testament, the children of Israel had witnessed the mighty acts of God. Think about it. They participated in the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground. They ate manna from Heaven and drank water from the rock. Their shoes did not wear out after forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The opportunity to enter the Land of Promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, was right before them. Yet, they were unwilling to embrace God’s abundant life for them. They wanted to go back to Egypt where they were slaves.

  • “And they said to each other, ‘We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’” Num 14:4 (NIV)
  • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20 (NIV)

Paul demonstrated the discipline of being crucified with Christ. When your flesh wants to go back to the bondage of Egypt and fulfill the cravings of your sin nature, choose to crucify the flesh. Remember, whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies. Starve the flesh! Feed your love relationship with God! Nourish the life of Christ in you!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abundant Life, Life, Obstacles, Opposition, Sin Nature.
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April 22nd, 2008

Obstacles to Abundant Life (1)

“Therefore Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’” John 10:7-10 (NIV)

Living the Christian life is living with opposition.

Motion causes friction. When you choose to follow Jesus and move in the direction of the narrow path, you will face opposition. Living the Christian life is like swimming upstream. The cultural current will work against you.

When you received God’s gift of eternal life by placing your faith in Jesus alone for salvation, you were adopted into God’s family. God placed you positionally in Christ and thus you became a recipient of the abundant life that Jesus gives. Along the way, you will have to overcome obstacles. Living in a fallen world as a Christ-follower does not exempt you from spiritual warfare. The reality is that your devotion to Christ will stir up a response from your adversaries.

Resistance is part of growth. Just as there is no growth in weight training without resistance, there is no growth spiritually without resistance. Your faith must be formed. Without a test, there is no testimony. Opposition provides you with the friction necessary to sharpen the blade of your faith in God.

Can you identify some obstacles to abundant life that you are facing personally? Will you allow God to use those in your life to conform you into the image of Christ? Are you willing to grow in your understanding of these obstacles in order to learn how to prepare for battle?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abundant Life, Life, Obstacles, Opposition.
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April 21st, 2008

Life on the Narrow Road (3)

Your best life is not your life. Your best life is God’s life for you.

Who created you? What is the purpose of your existence? Why are you where you are right now? God created you to fulfill His purposes and His plan. You are not an accident. You have been appointed by God to join Him in His redemptive activity. Every thought you have today matters. Every conversation you engage in today matters. Every interaction you initiate today matters. God has saved you by His grace, sealed you with His Holy Spirit, and set you apart to serve others for His glory.

  • “‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’” Matt 7:13-14 (NIV)

You could not dream of a better life than the one that God has for you on the narrow road. The same road that leads to eternal life leads to abundant life. God does not save you so that you can experience life once you get to heaven. God saves you so that you can have eternal security and abundant life now on the narrow road. Your best life is not your life. God’s life for you is truly your best life. There is not a better option. The best option is always God’s option. The best way is always God’s way. The best path is always God’s path.

Are you living the life God has for you? If not, why not? What adjustments do you need to make in order to live the life God has for you?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 21st, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Abundance, Heaven, Life, Living Wisely, Perspective.
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