Archive for February, 2009

February 28th, 2009

Interruptions

“As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” Luke 8:42-44 (NIV)

Has your life been interrupted recently? Has your schedule, routine, or plans been shifted as a result of an unexpected interruption? Jesus had that experience as He was on His way to heal the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus. Jesus was on his way to their home to perform a miraculous healing touch when His plans were interrupted.

In the midst of the crowds pressing in on Jesus, there was a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. No one could heal her. She was desperate and determined that Jesus could heal her. She came up behind Jesus and touch the edge of His cloak and her bleeding stopped immediately. Jesus noticed that power had gone out from Him and so He asked His disciples, “Who touched me?”

The woman came trembling at Jesus’ feet and told Him why she had touched Him and then affirmed her healing. Jesus responded to her by saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Jesus turned this interruption into an opportunity to be a blessing to someone in need. Of course, this interruption delayed His arrival at the home of Jairus. Someone from the house of Jairus announced that his daughter was dead. Did she die because of the delay? Jesus went into their home and took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”

The interruption Jesus encountered became a pronounced opportunity to heal the woman and the child. Will you turn your interruptions into opportunities for God to do something special through you? God knows where you are and what you are facing. God knows each interruption that will intrude your schedule. How will you respond?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 28th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Healing, Jesus, Opportunity.
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February 27th, 2009

Share Your Story

“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:38-39 (NIV)

This demon-possessed man had not lived in a house, but lived in the tombs for a long time. When the demons came out of the man, Jesus gave them permission to go into a herd of pigs. The herd rushed down the bank into the lake and drowned. When the people of that region came to Jesus, they saw this man sitting at Jesus’ feet. The man was dressed and in his right mind. Jesus instructed the man to “return home and tell how much God has done for you.”

What is your story? How did Jesus reveal Himself and His salvation plan to you? Revisit the circumstances leading up to your salvation event. Consider the people God brought into your path to introduce you to Jesus. Begin to pray and thank God for each person specifically.

Review the changes that have taken place in your life since receiving God’s gift of eternal life. Calculate the progression of your faith and the levels of maturity gained over the years. Remember, salvation is an event followed by a process of maturation. What is different about your life now?

Share your story! Let’s others know what the Lord has done for you. Proclaim the Good News of Jesus with those who do not have a personal relationship with Him. Testify of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and the victory over sin, death, and hell. Share with others how Jesus came to your rescue and delivered you from the kingdom of darkness and placed you in the kingdom of light. Tell how you were an object of wrath, but because of God’s love and mercy, you have been made alive with Christ in order to show the incomparable riches of His grace (Eph. 2:3-7).

God has given you a message worth making known and a story worth sharing!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Redemption, Salvation, Testimony.
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February 26th, 2009

Fortifying Your Faith

“The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.’” Luke 8:24-25 (NIV)

Without a test, there is no testimony. Jesus provided the disciples with an opportunity to fortify their faith and to solidify their testimony. Fearing for their lives, the disciples woke Jesus and alerted Him of their plight. Jesus got up and changed their circumstances by rebuking the wind and the waters. The storm subsided and all was calm.

Their life lesson was delivered in the form of a question, “Where is your faith?” Jesus wanted the disciples to think about where they were placing their confidence. Did the disciples place their confidence in the boat or in the Master of the wind and the waves?

  • “We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7 (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)

The disciples asked one another, “Who is this?” Your answer to that question is vital. Is Jesus just a good man who performed good deeds while upon the earth? Or, is Jesus the Master of your life and your forever? Place your confidence in Jesus alone for salvation and trust Him to see you through the storms of life. Jesus can save you from your sin and from eternal damnation. The same Jesus who has provided for your eternal security can provide for your immediate stability in the midst of your storm. Entrust your life to Jesus completely. Jesus is in the boat!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Assurance, Comfort, Eternal security, Faith, Jesus.
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February 25th, 2009

Storms in Life

“As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.” Luke 8:23 (NIV)

Why does God allow storms to come into our path? God is more concerned about our character than our comfort. His passion is for us to become like Christ. If God allows a storm, He will use that storm to reveal Himself and to refine our character. There are some things you learn in a storm that you cannot learn on the calm sea. The storm provides the environment in which we learn to trust God by taking Him at His Word. We learn to view our circumstances from God’s perspective.

The disciples were in great danger from their personal perspective. While the storm was raging, Jesus was sleeping. Jesus knew the outcome before they even set sail. Jesus oriented His life according to the Father’s agenda. God’s will supersedes any storm and any distraction. God will accomplish His plan in the midst of life’s storms.

Your character development matters to God. The friction of each storm in your life will be guided by the hand of God to sand the rough edges from your life in order to perfect Christ in you. If God allows a storm to come into your life, He will orchestrate the movement of that storm to conform you into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). God works in all situations to bring you into perfect union with Christ and to effectively portray Christ through your life.

Every storm has a season and is used of God for a divine reason. What storm are you in? Have you detected the loving hand of God at work in the midst of the storm to produce Christ-likeness in you? Maintain God’s perspective while you trust His provision to see you through.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Assurance, Comfort, Faith, Jesus.
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February 24th, 2009

God’s Plan

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and set out.” Luke 8:22 (NIV)

God will get you to the other side. His plan for you is personal. God designed you with His purpose in mind. You are not an accident. Before you were born, God knew you (Jer. 1:5). You are here at this very moment because God ordained your existence. God has a special plan for your life that includes your past, present, and future. God’s plan factors in your choices. You are not an impersonal robotic creature. You are a personal relational being with the purpose of God in your heart. God knows you by name and even the hairs upon your head are numbered (Luke 12:7).

God’s plan for you is eternal. There’s more in store than what you see in the here and now. God has placed eternity in your heart to position you for eternal life (Eccl. 3:11). Your life goes beyond the grave. God’s plan for you extends beyond the immediate and includes eternal life. As you receive the gift of eternal life by faith, your forever is changed. Heaven becomes the place where you will live with God forever.

The disciples responded to Jesus by getting into a boat and setting out. Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” Jesus did not say, “Let’s see if we can make it to the other side.” When Jesus is in your boat, there’s nothing to fear. Jesus will get you to the destination safely and right on time. Enjoy the journey!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Attentiveness, God's Plan, Obedience, Sovereignty.
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February 23rd, 2009

A Noble Heart

“‘But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.’” Luke 8:15 (NIV)

How well do you receive God’s Word? Your level of receptivity is a direct reflection of the condition of your heart. Your heart is the soil upon which the seed, God’s Word, is sown. As you hear, read, and feed on God’s Word, the seed is sown in your heart. If you have a noble and good heart, then the seed will take root in your life and produce a harvest.

It starts with your heart. Ask God to search your heart (Ps. 139:23). The light of His holiness will reveal the true condition of your heart. Does your heart resemble the hard path, or the rocky ground, or the thorn infused ground? You can become calloused toward the things of God. You can become distracted by the magnetic pull of worldliness and materialism. It is possible to choke out the Word of God by the worries of this life.

Purify your heart before the Lord. Remove the impurities that constrict the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life (Eph. 4:30). Take the initiative to purify your body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).

  • “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Cor 7:1 (NIV)
  • “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)

Keep your heart noble and good. Consistently intake God’s Word through hearing, reading, and feeding on God’s Word each day. Your level of receptivity will be evidenced through the level of productivity in the harvest.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Obedience, Perseverance, Receptivity.
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February 22nd, 2009

Love and Forgiveness

“‘Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.’” Luke 7:47 (NIV)

What’s the relationship between forgiveness and love? God loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son to atone for our sins (John 3:16). Jesus loves us so much that He was obedient to death, even death on a cross (Php 2:8). God demonstrated His love for us by taking the initiative to provide for the forgiveness of our sins (Rm 5:8).

The level of forgiveness we have received from God affects the level of our love for others. A person who has experienced a large measure of compassion from others will in turn be more compassionate toward others. Jesus says that he who has been forgiven little loves little. The capacity to love others is fashioned by the level of forgiveness that we have received. Our desperation to be forgiven for our sins cascades us with an appreciation for the love God has lavished on us (I Jn 3:1).

Is there anyone in your life whom you are having a difficult time loving? If so, begin to measure the forgiveness God has extended to you over your lifetime. Search the depths of your heart to recover the love God has faithfully demonstrated to you. Now choose to treat this person with the same level of love and forgiveness that you have graciously received from God. God is not asking you to do anything He has not already done for you.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Jesus, Love.
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February 21st, 2009

Stability

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48 (NIV)

Obedience to God’s Word leads to stability. It is not enough to be a hearer only. Putting God’s Word into practice is essential to building your life on a solid foundation and being blessed (James 1:25). Adversity will come. Seasons of uncertainty will come. Storms will arise. However, you will not be shaken and you will not be shifted because of the stability resulting from obeying God’s Word.

Disobedience to God’s Word leads to instability. Can you imagine building a house without a foundation? When the storms come, your house will not stand. Failing to hear God’s Word and to put it into practice is like building your life on shifting sand. Disobedience produces unhealthy and unwanted consequences.

You are a spiritual house in which the Holy Spirit lives. You are the walking tabernacle of the Presence of God (I Cor. 6:19-20). God has a specific plan for your life that includes hearing His Word and putting it into practice. God’s will is for you to obey His Word.

Are you obeying what God has already revealed to you through His Word? Are you loving God and loving others? “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”(Luke 6:46 NIV).

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Applying God's Word, Obedience.
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February 20th, 2009

When Your Heart Speaks

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 (NIV)

Did you know that your mouth will tell on your heart? Whatever is in your heart will eventually come through your mouth. The words you speak reveal what’s in your heart. If your heart is impure, then your words will give evidence of that impurity. If your heart is gentle and compassionate, then your words will unveil that reality.

How’s your heart? Evaluate the words you speak and you will get a clear indication of the condition of your heart. Jesus identified the heart connection to the words we speak. Jesus explained that whatever we store in our heart will come out.

The writer of Proverbs reminds us to guard our heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Prv. 4:23). The condition of your heart determines how you treat others, how you speak to others, and how you think of others. If your heart is cold and indifferent, then your compassion for others will be minimal. If your heart is warm and tender, then your interaction with others will be saturated with the love and kindness of Christ.

Do your words build others up or tear them down? Do your words build bridges or erect walls? Does your speech draw others to Christ or repel them from Christ? It’s a matter of the heart!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Motives, Speech.
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February 19th, 2009

Judging Others

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:42 (NIV)

Cynicism and criticism are alive and well. Intake a few moments of a reality television show and you will quickly discover that our culture thrives on judging others. The standard we use for others is usually vastly different than the standard we use on ourselves.

Jesus confronted the error of judging others without first examining our own lives. We have a way of making ourselves feel good about our own condition by fixating on the worst in others. We tend to use a microscope to view others and then an out-of-focus pair of binoculars to examine ourselves. Our view of others and our view of ourselves become skewed.

Hypocrisy is the act of appearing to be something you are not. Jesus says that once you address the plank in your own eye, then you will be able to see others clearly.

  • “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” Psalms 26:2-3 (NIV)
  • “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV)

Once you have prayed and asked God to reveal sin in your life, confess your sin and receive God’s provision of forgiveness. Now it is time to yank the plank!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Introspection, Judging, Self-control.
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