Archive for May, 2008

May 31st, 2008

Reveal (5)

“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:10-11 (NIV)

The disciples experienced a monumental moment as they witnessed the ascension of Jesus. Jesus had walked with them and invested in them and mentored them. Jesus sacrificed His life upon the cross for them and was raised from the dead. Jesus interacted with the disciples during His forty days of post-resurrection appearances. Now, Jesus ascends before their eyes back into heaven.

Can you imagine what they were feeling and thinking? How would you respond to such an experience? Where do you go after witnessing such a miraculous event?

  • “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.” Acts 1:12 (NIV)
  • “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:14 (NIV)

It is possible to seek to live in a God-moment meant as an isolated experience and miss God’s next assignment for you. God allows you to have special moments where He reveals more of Himself to you so that you can know Him more deeply and obey Him completely.

Keep moving with God. Had the disciples been unwilling to keep moving with God, they would have missed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They had to go to Jerusalem and engage in a “ten day prayer meeting” in the upper room in order to have the experience of becoming Spirit-filled followers of Christ.

God has used Henry Blackaby and his workbook, Experiencing God, to enhance my walk with God over the years. Contemplate this powerful quote from Henry Blackaby, “You cannot stay where you are and go with God.”

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 31st, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Ascension, Conceal, Experience, Pentecost, Reveal.
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May 30th, 2008

Reveal (4)

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” Matt 17:1-2 (NIV)

God moments are difficult to transfer.

If only life was a perpetual mountaintop experience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be on a constant spiritual high and never come down? Peter, James, and John had a once in a lifetime experience with Jesus on the top of a mountain. Jesus was transfigured before them. Peter wanted to build three shelters in order to stay on the mountaintop and live in the radiance of Jesus’ glory.

Jesus used the experience to teach Peter, James, and John the necessity to come down the mountain to meet the needs of people in the valley. In other words, God surprises us with mountaintop experiences to reveal His glory so that we can go into the world to reveal God’s glory to others.

Consider the terrain of your spiritual journey. Can you recall the mountaintop experiences you have had with God? Did God reveal His glory to you in those moments so that you would stay in the moment? No! God gave you those special glimpses into His nature and character so that you could go into the valley of life to connect with people in desperate need of God’s salvation.

God moments can be difficult to transfer to others. Often, the God moments are for you to be encouraged and strengthened personally. The experience should motivate you to go into the world to declare the message of reconciliation to a world alienated from God.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, May 30th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Conceal, God Moments, Mountaintop Experiences, Reveal.
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May 29th, 2008

Reveal (3)

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1 (NIV)

Authentic worship leads to sensitivity to God’s activity.

When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he encountered the holiness of God. As a result, Isaiah had a heightened awareness of both his personal sin and the sin of those around him. The light of God’s holiness had exposed the darkness within him and around him. Isaiah was so overwhelmed by his encounter of God, that he said, “Woe is me.”

Through his personal encounter with God, Isaiah heard the voice of God calling out to him. Isaiah was sensitive to God’s activity. He made himself available for God’s use by saying, “Here am I. Send me!” Have you reached that place in your walk with God? Have you encountered God’s presence at the level of hearing God’s invitation to join Him in His redemptive activity?

Your worship of the One True Living God should result in a corresponding willingness to participate with God in His world redemption plan. Your heart aligns with the heart of God and you submit your will to God’s will. His agenda becomes your passion.

Are you willing to place your “yes” on the altar unconditionally? Be willing to say to God, “Lord, I’m yours. Use me.”

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 29th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Authentic Worship, Conceal, Evangelism, Isaiah, Reveal.
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May 28th, 2008

Reveal (2)

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14-16 (NIV)

Uncover your candle.

Jesus has transformed your life so that you will become an agent of transformation in the world. Jesus has illuminated your life so that you will reflect His light and extend His love to a lost and dying world. As a child of God, you are the light of the world. God has strategically placed you in a dark culture in order to shine His light in you and through you. You are alive right now on purpose. You live, work, study, and play right where God has placed you to know Jesus and to make Him known.

Is your light shining? Is your candle burning brightly for the Lord? God has created people who need the light you have. God has brought them into your life and placed them in your sphere of influence so that you can let your light shine before them. Don’t fear the open doors God places before you. Don’t divert from the path God has placed you on. Don’t neglect crossing the bridges God has built for you.

You will come into contact with people today who need the light God has placed within you. Will you uncover the candle? Will you allow the light of Jesus to shine through you in order to reveal His love to others?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Conceal, Influence, Light of the World, Reveal, Witness.
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May 27th, 2008

Reveal (1)

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col 3:17 (NIV)

You have the power to conceal or reveal God’s glory.

God reveals His glory to you as you worship Him privately and corporately. Whether you encounter God personally through private worship or in a setting with other believers, God reveals His glory. He wants you know His nature and His character. God wants you to come to know Him by experience.

As God reveals Himself to you, your relationship deepens. Your understanding of God’s purposes and ways grows as you spend time with Him. The question becomes: What are you going to do with what God reveals to you? Are you going to conceal His glory or reveal His glory?

Authentic worship is a lifestyle. It is not what you come to on Sunday morning or what you go away from on Sunday afternoon. Worship is living a life that honors God as you are doing life. Everything you do should be an act of worship. Even menial tasks can be used to reveal God’s glory.

  • “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 (NIV)
  • “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor 10:31 (NIV)

God will orchestrate opportunities today for you to reveal His glory to others. What will others come to know about God’s nature and character through your willingness to reveal His glory?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Conceal, Reveal, Worship.
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May 26th, 2008

Bringing Your Worship (7)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Col 3:16 (NIV)

It is possible to worship the act of worship. When you become consumed with your personal preferences and neglect embracing the true focus of worship, you start worshiping worship. Often we ask the wrong question, “What do I like in worship?” If worshiping God becomes horizontal, the focus shifts to personal preferences.

The proper question to ask when it comes to worship is, “What moves the heart of God?” Worship is not about what I like but all about what moves the heart of God. My orientation moves from inward to upward. My focus becomes vertical. Does my expression of worship move the heart of God? Am I singing songs with gratitude in my heart to God?

Assess your private worship and your public worship. Think through what you are bringing to the worship experience. Is God the object of your expression of affection? Does God get your best? Put gratitude in your attitude and bring your worship to God.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, May 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Focus, Vertical, Worship.
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May 25th, 2008

Bringing Your Worship (6)

The condition of your heart before God affects your private and public worship.

If you want to have a high level of receptivity to God’s Word, your heart must be right before God. Sin will harden your heart towards God. Sin will hinder your capacity to hear from God.

  • “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8 (NIV)
  • “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

Keep your heart clean before God. Stay tender. Be teachable. Maintain purity in your thought life. Consistently confess known sin and live a life of moral purity. Surrender daily to the Lordship of Christ and do not give the devil a foothold in your life. At all costs, do not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit. Ask God to enable you to demonstrate a life of character and integrity. Crucify the flesh. Make no provision for the flesh. Keep your life in check. Weed the flowerbed of your life.

Sounds like a commitment to perpetual care doesn’t it? Sin will create an immense deficit in bringing your worship to God. In fact, sin can easily become your worship. Guard your heart! Consecrate yourself before God and allow the light of His holiness to identify areas of your life that need to be surrendered.

Bring your worship of God to God with a heart of purity!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, May 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Receptivity, Sin, Word of God, Worship.
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May 24th, 2008

Bringing Your Worship (5)

“‘But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.’” Matt 13:23 (NIV)

There are levels of receptivity.

Have you noticed how you can read the Bible during a given season that you are in and then read the same passage of Scripture at another season of life and get something radically different from the very same passage? It has so much to do with your level of receptivity. I have noticed in my own life that when I am going through a season of brokenness, God’s Word captures my heart at a different level. When I am longing for God’s comfort, the Book of Psalms comes alive for me. When I am in need of direction and insight for a decision I need to make, Proverbs just delivers with clarity. If I am simply wanting to become more like Christ in how I treat others, reading the Gospels develops in me a new perspective on viewing others through the eyes of Christ.

The condition of your heart directly affects the level of revelation that takes root in your life. When your heart resembles the hard path, the thorny ground, or the rocky ground, your level of receptivity to God’s Word diminishes exponentially.

Here’s the good news: your heart can resemble good soil. Your heart can be tender and receptive to God’s Word and yield a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Your intake of God’s Word can be beneficial, productive, and life changing if the condition of your heart is right. Let’s explore this some more…

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 24th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category God's Word, Hearing, Listening to God, Receptivity, Worship.
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May 23rd, 2008

Bringing Your Worship (4)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Col 3:16 (NIV)

Is God’s Word at home in your heart?

Your intake of God’s Word will determine your level of living on mission with God. The primary tool of revelation that God uses for His children is the Bible. God reveals Himself through His Word. You can read the Bible. You can listen to the Bible. You can sit under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

  • “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)
  • “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 (NIV)

Your worship includes the intentional intake of God’s Word. God has appointed and anointed pastors and teachers to communicate His Word in a creative and compelling way. Are you currently sitting under that kind of preaching and teaching? God speaks through human instrumentality. Do you consistently receive a Word from God through the preaching and teaching that you are exposing yourself to?

There are many options out there. Make certain that you are connected to a Bible centered and Christ honoring local fellowship of believers led by a God fearing pastor. Don’t compromise on this one. Be sure to find anointed Bible teachers to help you grow in your understanding and application of God’s Word. Make room in your heart for God’s Word!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, May 23rd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Bible, Christ-centered, Pastor, Teacher, Worship.
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May 22nd, 2008

Bringing Your Worship (3)

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Heb 10:23-25 (NIV)

God desires a common expression of our worship to Him.

You were made to worship God. Your private worship nurtures and expresses your abiding relationship with Christ. Your public worship with other believers is the common expression of worship. God is not looking for every believer to express worship the exact same way. God wants you to express your worship to Him based on your unique personality and temperament.

What does your public worship look like? How do you express your love to God in worship during a public gathering of believers? Are you reserved or outwardly expressive? Do you use physical gestures such as raising your hands in surrender or standing or kneeling? Does your corporate worship environment help you connect with God in worship or does it inhibit your worship?

I have often heard that you are not to come to church to worship, but to come to church worshiping. The corporate worship experience should be an outflow of your daily private worship experiences. The question then becomes: Are you bringing your worship to church?

Spend some time assessing the difference between your private and public worship. When do you feel most connected to God? When do you sense the most freedom and the most passion in expressing your love to God in worship? Maybe a worthy goal would be to bring your public worship up to where your private worship is or to bring your private worship up to where your public worship is depending on which one is more engaging.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Corporate Worship, Expression, Worship.
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