Archive for July, 2008

July 31st, 2008

Pride and Humility (3)

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

Rebellion against God is rooted in pride. Submission to God is rooted in humility. Rebellion brings harm and punishment. Submission brings relief and reward. Knowing that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, the child of God benefits from submission. To submit to God is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of wisdom.

When you recognize that God is the Creator and that you are the created, you relinquish the pursuit of control. Submitting to God is allowing God to have complete control of your life. When you submit to God, you are acknowledging His supremacy and your dependency. The posture of submission resonates with the life of Christ.

  • “‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’” John 4:34 (NIV)
  • “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Matt 26:39 (NIV)

How will you respond to life today? Will you submit to God? Are you in tune with God’s purpose and plan for your life? Has God’s agenda become your passion?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 31st, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Pride, Submission.
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July 30th, 2008

Pride and Humility (2)

“You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3 (NIV)

Motives matter to God.

Have you ever been the recipient of a gift that was given with impure motives? When motives are not right, the gift loses its impact. How you give is just as important as what you give. How you serve is just as important as the act of serving. How you do life is just as important as what you do with your life.

God is all-knowing and all-seeing. In His omniscience, God detects the motives in which you operate your life. God looks beneath the surface of your good deeds to identify your true motives. Selfishness is an indicator of impure motives. Wrong motives will cause you to mistreat others in order to get what you want.

  • “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” Prov 16:2 (NIV)
  • “‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.’” Matt 7:7-8 (NIV)

What if we started with a boldness to simply ask God? If there is something we need, what keeps us from asking God who is the Creator and Sustainer of life? Why do we try to take life into our own hands and allow impure motives to infiltrate our decisions? Let’s commit to go to God! He is our sufficiency!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Motives, Pride.
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July 29th, 2008

Pride and Humility (1)

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1 (NIV)

Have you ever been in a fight? Have you ever quarreled with someone and sought to get your way at any cost? Can you imagine that kind of behavior among believers? James identifies the reality of infighting among the believers who have been dispersed as a result of persecution. Now they are persecuting each other with improper behavior. It can happen to good people who are seeking to follow God.

Even after we profess Christ as Lord of our lives, we continue to battle the sin nature. The old patterns that God delivered us from seek to pop up from time to time. We have three enemies that we combat: the devil, the world, and the flesh. What if the devil eased up on us and the tugs of the world lessened their appeal? The truth is, we would still have to combat the cravings of our flesh.

James points to the culprit of fights and quarrels, namely, our desires that battle from within. Selfish desires and behavior steeped in pride come from within. The outward expression of our inward desires can bring harm to the Body of Christ and contaminate our witness. Attacking other believers through our words and our deeds is an indicator of selfishness and pride.

What’s the opposite of pride? Humility! God gave us a portrait of humility by allowing Jesus to pay full price for the sin debt of the world. If God was willing to do that for us, what should we be willing to do for Him? Let’s start with treating others the way God has treated us.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Pride, Selfishness.
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July 28th, 2008

The Good Life (7)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (NIV)

Here’s an overview of what we have learned from the first three chapters of James.

  • Respond properly to trials from without.
  • Respond properly to temptations from within.
  • Apply God’s Word consistently in daily living.
  • Value others as God does.
  • Demonstrate a faith that works.
  • Control your speech.
  • Employ God’s wisdom in daily decisions.
  • Do life God’s way by revering, obeying, and portraying Christ.

The good life is marked by full surrender to God’s agenda. Allow God to work in you so that He can work through you to bring others to Christ. You matter to God and every moment of your life is significant. Your conversation and your conduct have eternal implications. The way you treat others is a direct reflection of your love relationship with Christ. Abandon your all to the Lord. Give Him first place in your life.

Don’t hesitate to ask God for wisdom each day. God is generous and wants to shower you with heavenly wisdom for doing life His way. Trust God to be your sufficiency!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Decisions, Good Life, Wisdom.
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July 27th, 2008

The Good Life (6)

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Eccl 12:14 (NIV)

As you revere God and obey Him, you will be obtaining and employing heavenly wisdom. Another essential to doing life God’s way is portraying the life of Christ. God pursued you with His love and rescued you so that you would portray the life of Christ on earth. You are to bloom where God has planted you so that others will be drawn to Christ through your witness. Think of the people God has placed in your sphere of influence. Why do you think God brings such people into your life? God wants you to live in such a way as to model Christ before them.

  • “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)
  • “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:15-16 (NIV)

One day you will stand before God to give an account for your life. Seize the opportunities that God gives you to make Jesus known. Do life God’s way so that you will bring honor to God and populate the kingdom of heaven.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Good Life, Humility, Portray, Wisdom.
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July 26th, 2008

The Good Life (5)

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Eccl 12:13 (NIV)

Another essential to doing life God’s way is obedience. Revering God is demonstrated through obeying God. Solomon recognized the priority of doing life God’s way. After experiencing life in the fast lane and having access to the wealth of the world, Solomon embraced the value of making God his top priority. Keeping God’s commandments became the central focus of Solomon’s 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.’” Matt 7:24-25 (NIV)
  • “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” 1 John 2:3 (NIV)

Let me encourage you to obey what you know. As you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word and as you grow in your love relationship with God, seek to obey what God has already revealed to you. Seek to love God and to love others the way God has loved you.

How would you define success in this life? Consider the bumper sticker I have seen recently: He who dies with the most toys wins! Is that true success? Success is obedience! Let’s do life God’s way

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, July 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Good Life, Jesus, Obedience, Wisdom.
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July 25th, 2008

The Good Life (4)

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Eccl 12:13 (NIV)

Imagine enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s with one of the wisest men to ever live, Solomon. That’s right! You are sitting across from Solomon and you ask him to share with you what he has learned after experiencing life in a way that few would ever experience in a lifetime. Solomon pursued wealth, wisdom, and women. At the end of his life, he looks into the review mirror and captures what matters most.

Let me share the first essential to doing life God’s way: Revere God.

Solomon says to “fear God.” In the language of the Old Testament, to fear God means to revere God. It means to hold God in high esteem. We are to place the worth and value on God that He deserves. We are to reverence God for who He is and for what He has done.

Revering God involves giving Him first place in your life. Your ambition is to honor God with your life. His agenda becomes the focus of your life. You revere God by aligning your heart with His heart. Revering God is demonstrated by loving what God loves, and by hating what God hates.

In his book, Walking with God, John Eldredge writes, “I assume that an intimate, conversational walk with God is available, and is meant to be normal.” As you walk with God and revere Him, your love relationship with God will become intimate. Doing life God’s way always produces intimacy with God and brings Him pleasure.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Fear, Good Life, Intimacy with God, Reverence, Wisdom.
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July 24th, 2008

The Good Life (3)

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (NIV)

Doing life God’s way involves obtaining and employing heavenly wisdom. What does that kind of wisdom look like? James has already explained the components of earthly wisdom in the previous three verses. We learned that earthly wisdom is characterized by selfishness while heavenly wisdom is characterized by selflessness. Selfishness is an expression of earthly wisdom. Selflessness is an expression of heavenly wisdom. Jesus, of course, is our model to follow.

  • “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil 2:3-4 (NIV)
  • “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Phil 2:5-8 (NIV)

Heavenly wisdom becomes a practical expression in your daily living. As you do life God’s way, you will live a life of moral purity. You will be peace-loving, considerate of others, and submissive to God’s agenda. Heavenly wisdom will be evidenced through your lifestyle of mercy and good fruit, being impartial and sincere. What kind of wisdom are you exhibiting through your conversation and your conduct? Will others be drawn to Christ or repelled from Christ?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 24th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Good Life, Wisdom, Wisdom & Understanding.
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July 23rd, 2008

The Good Life (2)

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:14-16 (NIV)

James distinguishes between earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. Your conversation and your conduct will demonstrate the kind of wisdom you are operating from. The way you treat others will indicate the wisdom you draw from. The earthly wisdom that James identifies comes naturally. Heavenly wisdom is supernatural and is reserved for the child of God. However, it is possible for a believer to operate in the realm of earthly wisdom and neglect the wisdom from heaven.

The poison of envy and the toxin of selfish ambition are earthly, unspiritual, and of the devil. The good life that God calls us to is not rooted in earthly wisdom which is marked by selfishness. Earthly wisdom feeds the cravings of the sin nature. The gratification of the flesh is centered in earthly wisdom. The devil seeks to get people to resist heavenly wisdom and to settle for the vanity of envy and selfish ambition. Disorder and every evil practice are the byproduct of a self-centered life steeped in earthly wisdom.

Take personal inventory. What kind of wisdom are you drawing from? Does your life give evidence to the good life God has designed for you?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Good Life, Wisdom, Wisdom & Understanding.
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July 22nd, 2008

The Good Life (1)

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 (NIV)

What does the good life look like? The good life is doing life God’s way. God has created you for His glory. You are here to fulfill God’s will. God has included you in His master plan. In order to do life God’s way, you will need God’s wisdom. Moses felt overwhelmed by God’s assignment to deliver the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Notice what Moses requested of God.

  • “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” Ex 33:13 (NIV)
  • “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Prov 4:7 (NIV)

Wisdom is something that is given by God and is also something that you seek. What you will discover in your love relationship with God through the saving work of Jesus on the cross is that God invites you to participate with Him in doing life His way. Would others consider you wise and understanding? Have you demonstrated the good life by doing life God’s way?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Good Life, Wisdom, Wisdom & Understanding.
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