Archive for October, 2008

October 31st, 2008

Selfless and Sacrificial Love (5)

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20 (NIV)

Is it possible to love God and hate your brother? Can you have the love of God residing in you and at the same time have hatred toward others festering in your spirit? The duplicity seems to be incongruent to the life of love that God calls us to and that Jesus exemplified on the earth.

Turn inward for a moment and examine your own current reality. Is there anyone you are fertilizing hatred toward? Do you have someone in your life to whom your love has extinguished and your hatred has ignited? Doing life in a fallen world is inundated with landmines of hatred. You will not lack opportunities to be wounded by hurtful words and by harmful people. People will let you down.

You cannot love God and hate others at the same time without your relationship with God being affected. God’s love in you demands expression. When you choose to hate the people God created and the people Jesus died for, you restrict God’s love within you. God wants you to hate what He hates and love what He loves. God passionately hates sin, but passionately loves the sinner.

Who is your brother? Who is your sister? How would God define your level of love? You will notice daily tests that reveal the authenticity of your love for others. Do you love God? Do you love others?

Loving God and loving people is the entirety of the Bible for present day expression.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 31st, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Hate, Love, Sacrificial Love, Selfless Love.
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October 30th, 2008

Selfless and Sacrificial Love (4)

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-24 (NIV)

God took the initiative to come to your rescue.

Have you ever questioned your own value and worth? That’s a normal part of life. Everyone wants to feel valued and valuable. God established your value by taking the initiative to rescue you from your sin and to robe you in His righteousness.

God has made His righteousness known through His Word and the Word made flesh (John 1:14). When you place your faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross, you receive the righteousness of Christ. The truth is that we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We have missed the mark of His perfection and His holiness. Yet, God chose to justify us freely by His grace through the redemption that came through Jesus.

God took the initiative to demonstrate His selfless and sacrificial love. Before you decided what you would do with God, God decided what to do with you. Before you turned to God, God turned to you! Your value is measured by the price He paid to remove your sin and to robe you in His righteousness. You are valued and you are valuable to God. His love for you is the certification of your value.

What will you do with the love God has shown you? How will you treat others now that you have experienced God’s love firsthand?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 30th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category God's Love, Initiative, Sacrificial Love, Selfless Love.
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October 29th, 2008

Selfless and Sacrificial Love (3)

“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” John 13:1 (NIV)

Jesus gave so freely to others. His compassion is without comparison. He caused the lame to walk, the mute to speak, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see. Children were drawn to Him and His love for them was unmatched. Jesus simply loved people.

The public ministry of Jesus was visible, tangible, and contagious. He was an irresistible influence. His love for people also had a private dimension. We are invited into an intimate setting where the evening meal is being served and Jesus is surrounded by His disciples. Jesus captured this moment to show them the full extent of His love.

Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet. Think about that for a moment. The master chose to serve. Jesus embraced an act of kindness that demonstrated His security and His selfless love. The Son of God chose to serve sinful man. The removal of dirt from their feet was a selfless portrait of love that was a preview of the sacrificial love Jesus would demonstrate upon the cross.

Are you willing to show the full extent of your love for others? Are you willing to express the selfless and sacrificial love of Jesus to others? Maybe God will bring someone to mind for your consideration. Maybe God will bring someone in your path today that needs to know that kind of love. Be ready to release God’s love!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Sacrificial Love, Selfless Love, Servanthood, Washing Feet.
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October 28th, 2008

Selfless and Sacrificial Love (2)

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” Gen 3:8-9 (NIV)

God demonstrated His selfless and sacrificial love in the Garden of Eden. As Adam and Eve were trying to hide from God due to their willful disobedience, God asked Adam a question that revealed the heart of God and the sinfulness of man. God called to Adam, “Where are you?”

The truth is that God knew exactly where Adam was both physically and spiritually. God did not need Adam to identify his location. God wanted Adam to consider and contemplate his own personal spiritual state. God wanted Adam to recognize his disobedience and rebellion. God demonstrated sacrificial love as He killed an animal that He created in order to provide covering and cleansing for Adam and Eve.

  • “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Gen 3:21 (NIV)
  • “So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Gen 3:23-24 (NIV)

God’s provision taught Adam and Eve that the shedding of blood was necessary for the removal of sin. The demonstration of selfless and sacrificial love also taught Adam and Eve that sin comes at a high cost. Adam and Eve received God’s forgiveness, but had to suffer the consequences of their sin. They were banished from the Garden of Eden. God’s selfless and sacrificial love includes tough love.

Think of ways in which God has demonstrated His selfless and sacrificial love in your life. You may want to revisit the spiritual markers in your life and assess them based on God’s selfless and sacrificial love. It could be that you can identify times in your life when God had to practice tough love and allow you to suffer the natural consequences that parade behind your choices.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Adam, Eve, God's Love, Love, Sacrificial Love, Selfless Love.
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October 27th, 2008

Selfless and Sacrificial Love (1)

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Gen 3:6-7 (NIV)

Have you ever inherited anything? You may have inherited some furniture, jewelry, or money from a loved one who passed away. Perhaps you have not ever been in an official capacity to inherit earthly goods as of yet. There is one thing we have in common with every human being who has ever lived, who is currently alive, or who will be born. That one common thread is inheriting the sin nature from our relatives, Adam and Eve. That’s right! You can trace your family tree all the way back to Adam and Eve. We have inherited their sin nature.

Adam and Eve were both selfish and selfless. Eve selfishly put her way above God’s way by doubting God’s Word and succumbing to the serpent’s temptation. Eve was selfless in that she gave some of the forbidden fruit to her husband, Adam. Adam was selfish in that he also disobeyed God’s instruction and placed his own personal desire above God’s instruction. In their fallen state, they did exhibit selflessness in sowing fig leaves together and making coverings for themselves. Actually, they were trying to cover up their sin.

Why do we do the things we do? Why do we willfully walk through doors we should not enter and cross bridges we should not cross? Why do we operate in the cycle of selfishness? It all goes back to the Garden of Eden. We are simply feeding the sin nature that we inherited.

Hope is on the way!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 27th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Adam, Eve, Love, Sacrificial Love, Selfless, Selfless Love.
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October 26th, 2008

Passion in Action (7)

“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)

Are you dying to live? You can spend your entire life trying to figure out how to really live. Your constant pursuit can be saturated with seeking to discover life. Meanwhile, life happens while you are trying to get a grasp on life.

Paul gives tremendous insight into the life God has for you. In order to live, you must die. The life God has for you is really not your life. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have been crucified with Christ. You have already died to yourself so that Christ can live in you. Don’t miss the parallel. You died so that Christ can live in you and through you. Yet, the life you now live in the body is lived by faith in Jesus, who loved you and gave himself for you. You are dying to live.

  • “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’” Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)
  • “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11 (NIV)

Put your passion in action by allowing Jesus to live His life in and through you. Give Jesus the reins to your life and let Him have His way in you. Surrender to His Lordship and submit to His prompting. Your passion will be evidenced by your obedience.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, October 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category One Month To Live, Passion, Zeal.
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October 25th, 2008

Passion in Action (6)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Cor 9:24 (NIV)

Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

The Greeks had two athletic festivals: the Olympic games and the Isthmian games. Paul’s audience would immediately connect this running imagery with the Isthmian games in their city of Corinth. Instead of receiving a gold, silver, or bronze medal like in our current day Olympics, only one prize was awarded in the Isthmian games. The winning runner would receive a wreath. Nothing was awarded to the runner who came in second or third. Only one person got the prize!

Paul is encouraging us as believers to run in such a way as to get that prize. We are to live the Christian life with passion. God desires our best and God deserves our best. So, how are you running the Christian race? Are you running with passion? Too often, we divert our passion to other venues. We rob God and we give our best to that which has no eternal value.

How you live is just as important as how much time you have left on this earth. The quality of your life is just as vital as the quantity of your remaining days. How will you live your life? If you had less than one month to live, would your passion in the race of life be vertical? Would your passion for God and His agenda be evident?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category One Month To Live, Passion, Zeal.
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October 24th, 2008

Passion in Action (5)

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:3-6 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul demonstrated his love for the church at Philippi by his passionate intercession for them. He prayed with joy because of their partnership in the gospel. He prayed with confidence knowing that God began a good work in them and would bring it to completion. Paul’s prayer life was energized by his love for the believers at Philippi. Paul was not alone. The Holy Spirit joined in the divine communication by interceding for the saints in Philippi. Jesus interceded for them from the right hand of God in heaven.

  • “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
  • “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34 (NIV)

When you pray for others, you have the divine privilege of joining the Holy Spirit and Jesus in the ministry of intercession. Put your passion in action by embracing the ministry of intercessory prayer. Who will you begin to pray for today?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category One Month To Live, Passion, Prayer, Zeal.
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October 23rd, 2008

Passion in Action (4)

“‘Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’” Josh 24:14-15 (NIV)

Joshua’s passion for God was contagious. He was willing to take responsibility for the spiritual condition of his home. Joshua made a bold proclamation that as for he and his household, they would serve the Lord. He did not apologize for his passion to obey God. His loyalty to God was expressed through his passion for God. Joshua’s passion to lead his family spiritually impacted the nation.

  • “‘Now then,’ said Joshua, ‘throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.’” Josh 24:23 (NIV)
  • “And the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.’” Josh 24:24 (NIV)

It is interesting that Joshua did not ask the people to do anything he had not already done. Joshua put his passion in action by leading his family to revere and serve the Lord. Now the people could respond to his example and to his exhortation.

Are you putting your passion in action in such as way as to impact your family and those in your sphere of influence? Is your passion for God contagious or difficult to detect?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category One Month To Live, Passion, Zeal.
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October 22nd, 2008

Passion in Action (3)

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:1-4 (NIV)

Paul identifies the possibility of being zealous for God and yet not being saved. Paul examined the fruit of the Israelites in his day and detected their zeal for God. He noticed that their zeal was not based on knowledge. As a result, their pursuit of righteousness was faulty. They were unwilling to submit to God’s righteousness and as a result they failed to recognize Christ.

  • “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Prov 19:2 (NIV)

Don’t allow your zeal to blind you from truth. Before you put your passion in action, make sure you are grounded in the truth of God’s revelation. God has made His salvation plan known. Make certain of your personal born again experience. Revisit your conversion and trace your zeal from that moment to now.

What if you had less than one month to live? How would you inform your passion in order to properly unleash your passion for the things of God? Stay in the know. Invest time in securing a daily intake of God’s Word. If you want to know the heart of God, read His Word. If you want to know the blessings of God, obey His Word.

God honors obedience! If you want to put your passion in action, be zealous to know and obey God’s Word!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category One Month To Live, Passion, Zeal.
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