Archive for September, 2008

September 30th, 2008

Family Spats (2)

“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)

God created us for relationship.

The first “not good” in the Bible is connected to aloneness. God created us for companionship. We do better together. God designed us to be relational, not robotic. God’s desire is for us to be rightly related to Him and rlghtly related to each other.

God created Eve to complete Adam. Adam transitioned from “me” to “we” and from “mine” to “ours” in response to God’s gracious creation activity. God knew what Adam needed most! Adam needed companionship. As you read God’s Word, you will discover that the Bible is the story of God’s relationship with His creation and their relationship with each other.

  • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor 5:21 (NIV)
  • “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

Satan is anti-relationship. Satan is anti-companionship. Satan is anti-family. The devil does not want you to be in a right relationship with God and he does not want you to be in a right relationship with others. Don’t allow the enemy to keep you from enjoying a loving relationship with God and with others. You are made for relationship. If you are battling aloneness, ask God to bring some life-giving relationships into your life.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Companionship, Conflict Resolution, Family, Relationship.
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September 29th, 2008

Family Spats (1)

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” Isaiah 14:13-15 (NIV)

Every conflict has pride at its root.

Before God created man in His own image, God had to resolve conflict that erupted in heaven. Pride infused Lucifer (Satan, the devil), the angel of God. In pride, Lucifer sought to lead a rebellion against God and thought he could dethrone God. However, God is holy and does not tolerate sin. Thus, God “de-heavened” Lucifer. Jesus spoke of this fall and John recorded the fall of Satan in Revelation 12:9.

  • “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’” Luke 10:18 (NIV)
  • “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Rev 12:9 (NIV)

Pride causes us to think of ourselves before thinking of others. Pride causes us to embrace selfishness and self-centeredness. In pride, we forfeit God’s agenda and become absorbed in our own personal agenda. Pride is evidenced by our pursuit of gratifying our sinful nature (Gal. 5:16).

If pride seeps into your home, your family will experience major conflict. Pride corrupts and erodes relationships. Satan is the mascot of pride. He does not want your family to operate in peace, unity, and trust.

Examine the weeds inside your home. Don’t try to cut the weeds off at ground level by dealing with the symptoms of pride. Get to the root of the conflict within your home. As you trace the origin of conflict, you will find the root of pride.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 29th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Conflict Resolution, Devil, Family, Pride, Selfishness, Sin.
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September 28th, 2008

The Church: Being and Doing (5)

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47 (NIV)

Teamwork makes the dream work.

God’s team is made up of those who have been saved by His grace. God’s team members wear the Jesus jersey and play for His glory. His team is characterized by unity, community, selflessness, generosity, compassion, loyalty, fellowship, gladness, sincerity, evangelism, and growth.

Doing church first involves being the church. Our doing flows out of our being. It is possible to become so busy doing church that you bypass the relational aspect of being the church. God has called us, the church, to an abiding relationship with Christ.

  • “‘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)
  • “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Eph 2:19-20 (NIV)

As a member of God’s household, you are called to abide in Christ. Your perpetual connection to Christ and His resources will result in bearing fruit. However, don’t focus on bearing fruit. Focus on abiding. As you abide in Christ, fruit will be born. Apart from Christ, you can do nothing. His is your Source and He is your Life! As you abide in Christ, you will instantly add more value to the team, the Body of Christ.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 28th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Being and Doing, Church.
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September 27th, 2008

The Church: Being and Doing (4)

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41 (NIV)

Wow! On the day of Pentecost, three thousand were adopted into God’s family. Three thousand were delivered from the clutches of hell and placed on the path that leads to heaven. Three thousand were saved by God and for God. They became followers of Jesus Christ and were added to His Body, the church. An eternal transaction took place!

What’s next? Now that the three thousand are in Christ, how are they to function as a community of Christ-followers? What will be different about their conversation and their conduct? Do they go back to business as usual or do they embrace a new way of living?

  • “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” Acts 2:42-43 (NIV)

Notice how their lifestyle radically changed. On this side of their salvation, the three thousand along with the other 120 believers start doing life together. They begin to operate as a community of believers. They are walking together in unity. Their priorities have shifted and their time allocation reflects the heart of God.

Take a moment to examine your life in light of Acts 2:42-43. Are you devoted to the reading, study, hearing, and application of God’s Word? Are you in fellowship with a group of believers you can do life with? Are you consistently embracing the privilege of prayer? Are you in awe of the redemptive activity of God?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Being and Doing, Church.
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September 26th, 2008

The Church: Being and Doing (3)

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)

God empowers us for participation in His redemptive activity.

We cannot operate in God’s kingdom economy without God’s kingdom resources. God’s agenda can only be fulfilled by God’s enabling. Without God’s power, we cannot fulfill God’s mission. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit indwelt the believers and enabled them to speak forth the Gospel. Everyone heard the Good News in their own heart language. This miraculous communication of the Gospel was God’s demonstration that the Gospel is for everyone!

  • “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 (NIV)
  • “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Philem 1:6 (NIV)

What is your spiritual story? How did you come to know Christ personally? What has your life been like since being filled with the Holy Spirit? What does God’s Word say about how a person can be saved? If you have experienced the Gospel firsthand, then you are now ready to witness to Christ’s saving power. You are now ready to share your faith with others. Read Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-10, and 10:13.

God has reconciled you to Himself so that you can join God in reconciling others to Himself. Build bridges to those who don’t know Jesus so that they can have the saving relationship that you enjoy in Christ. There’s no greater task on planet earth!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 26th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Being and Doing, Church.
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September 25th, 2008

The Church: Being and Doing (2)

“‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” Luke 24:49 (NIV)

God’s will often includes waiting.

Jesus instructed the believers to wait in Jerusalem until they had received what His Father had promised, namely, power from on high. Jesus had to ascend back to the Father so that He could send the Counselor, the promised Holy Spirit (John 16:7). Yet, Jesus did not give them an exact time or date for the Holy Spirit’s arrival. They had to wait!

  • “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 1:4-5 (NIV)
  • “‘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)

The 120 believers waited ten days to be clothed with power from on high (Acts 1:15). Have you ever wondered why it took ten days? During that time, they replaced Judas by adding Matthias to the eleven apostles (Acts 1:26). But why did it take ten days? Perhaps the 120 believers had some internal issues to resolve. Maybe they had to confess sin and remove jealously, bitterness, and envy. Maybe it took ten days to come to the place of complete unity as a community of Christ-followers.

Are you currently waiting for God to reveal His next step for your life? Is there anything in your life that God wants you to deal with before He shows you what’s next? Ask the Lord to search your heart (Ps. 139:23).

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 25th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Being and Doing, Church.
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September 24th, 2008

The Church: Being and Doing (1)

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matt 16:18 (NIV)

God ordained marriage and God ordained the church. We are married to Christ and our union is expressed through His Body, the church. Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus affirmed that He would build His church on that reality.

In order to become a follower of Jesus Christ and become a member of His Body, the church, a person must confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. This profession of our faith is essential to salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). Jesus builds His church by adopting us into His family (Eph. 1:5). Only those who are born again enter into His Kingdom (John 3:3).

Jesus builds His church. Our job is to be the church. Jesus saves people from their sin. Our job is to share the Good News of Jesus so that others can know Jesus personally and eternally. Jesus saves us, not sit, but to serve. Our role in the Body of Christ, the church, is to empty hell and to populate heaven.

How many people will be in heaven because of you?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Being and Doing, Church.
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September 23rd, 2008

Joy in God’s Presence

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalms 16:11 (NIV)

God fills you with joy in His Presence.

The thought of having access to the presence of God is still amazing. God has made known the path of life. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We have gained access to God through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. Our sin debt has been paid in full. In Christ, we have been reconciled to God. God chooses to fill us with joy in His presence. We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to enjoy God’s presence. We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to enjoy the eternal pleasures.

God is for us. He created us. God is with us. Jesus redeemed us. God is in us. The Holy Spirit indwells us. The presence of God is no longer confined to the Old Testament Tabernacle or Temple. God’s presence is no longer confined to the Ark of the Covenant. God has chosen to take up residence in us.

  • “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Cor 6:19-20 (NIV)
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Are you walking in the joy of God’s presence?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category God's Presence, Joy.
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September 22nd, 2008

Joy to the Heart

“The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalms 19:8 (NIV)

God honors our obedience to His Word. One of the benefits of obedience is joy. Joy is not connected to our circumstances. As followers of Jesus Christ, we experience joy as a result of our abiding relationship with Christ marked by obedience.

  • “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 (NIV)
  • “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 (NIV)

Are you receiving joy to the heart? Take a look at your level of obedience to God’s Word. Your joy will be proportionate to your level of obedience. Obey what God has shown you. Obey what you already know and enjoy the benefit of joy.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 22nd, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Heart, Joy.
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September 21st, 2008

Expressing God’s Love (3)

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Heb 13:16 (NIV)

Be intentional.

What moves the heart of God? What brings God pleasure? What makes God smile? Doing good and sharing with others! We have the freedom to choose to do good or to exit from the highway of holiness. We can embrace God’s best or settle for less. The choice is ours to share with others or to operate in the currency of selfishness. God is pleased when we choose to do good and to share with others.

  • “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” Romans 14:17-18 (NIV)
  • “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” 1 Thess 4:1 (NIV)
  • “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Heb 11:6 (NIV)

Live your life with intentionality. Abandon to God’s will. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Love God and love others. Serve God by serving others. Put the needs of others before your own. Share Christ faithfully. Give sacrificially. Trust completely. Express God’s love intentionally.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 21st, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Intentional, Intentionality, On Mission.
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