Archive for March, 2009

March 31st, 2009

Authenticating Your Faith

“Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:21-22 (NIV)

Doing life requires faith. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are in the minority on this planet. You are doing life on the narrow path in the midst of a fallen world. Your beliefs will be challenged. Living the Christian life will be  marked by opposition and resistance.  However, your faith in Christ and His provision will be authenticated by your actions.

Are you putting feet to your faith? Are you allowing your faith to hit the pavement of real life in the real world? Abraham serves as a wonderful example of trusting in God’s provision no matter the cost. He was willing to sacrifice his  only son in order to be obedient to God. As you know, God came to the rescue in the fourth quarter with a few seconds left on the clock. God provided the substitute. Why did God allow Abraham to go through such a trying experience? God was testing Abraham’s faith.

Do you fully trust God to do what He  says He will do? Do you fully trust God to empower you to do life His way during your short stay upon the earth? God wants to reveal His glory in you and through you as you live out your faith. Allow your faith to be expressed to a watching world by your actions.  As you are doing life, your faith will either attract others to Christ or distract them from Christ.  Will your actions give evidence to your vibrant faith in God?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Abraham, Faith.
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March 30th, 2009

Work and Worship

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalms 29:2 (NIV)

Don’t worship your work! Let your work be an act of worship. You have a choice. You can treat worship as a noun or a verb. As a noun, worship becomes something you go to on Sunday mornings in a building incorrectly referred to as the church.

As a verb, worship becomes something you do twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five. Worship becomes a lifestyle. Instead of going to church to worship, you become the church worshiping.

What would be different about your workplace if you embraced worship as a verb? What would be different about your attitude and actions related to work if you began to turn your work into an act of worship? The heart of God is moved by how you work just as much as how you express your worship to Him on Sunday mornings in the corporate worship setting.

Your work matters to God. Your workplace matters to God. Turning your work into an act of worship will be one of the most important decisions you will make on this side of eternity.

Allow your worship to be a witness at work. There are individuals who need to know the One you worship. Until they have a personal relationship with Jesus, they will not have the hope of heaven and eternal life. Bring your worship with you to work.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 30th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Work, Worship.
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March 29th, 2009

In the Wrong Place

“Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.’” Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)

Zacchaeus demonstrated the same kind of faith that Abraham evidenced in the Old Testament when he was willing to sacrifice his only son. In response to Abraham’s obedience, God provided a ram as a substitute (Gen. 22:12-13). God provided salvation to Zacchaeus in response to his saving faith in Jesus. The divine appointment impacted his entire house. When Jesus shows up, everything changes.

After pronouncing that salvation had come to the home of Zacchaeus, Jesus clarified His life mission. Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost. In the language of the New Testament, the Greek word for lost literally means “in the wrong place.” The lost sheep was in the wrong place (Luke 15:4-7). The lost coin was in the wrong place (Luke 15:8-10). The prodigal son was in the wrong place (Luke 15:11-25). In our text here, Zacchaeus was in the wrong place.

Jesus came to seek and to save that which is in the wrong place. I remember when I was in the wrong place and Jesus came to my rescue. Perhaps you remember being in the wrong place and you remember how Jesus came to your rescue.

His mission is our mission. The reason Jesus came is the same reason you are alive. Jesus wants you to be on mission with Him to seek and to save those who are in the wrong place. You have the key to the right place. You know the One who gave His life so that you can know eternal life and be able to share that gift with others.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 29th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Jesus, Mission, Soul Consciousness.
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March 28th, 2009

Conversion Fruit

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” Luke 19:8 (NIV)

The fruit of conversion is a life of obedience. When you are genuinely converted from being a slave to sin to being a slave to righteousness, the evidence of that transformation shows up in your daily talk and walk (Rm 6:17-18). Salvation transforms your conversation and your conduct. From the moment of conversion, you embrace a lifestyle of working out what God has worked in (Php. 2:12).

Zacchaeus experienced authentic conversion. Upon placing his faith in Jesus alone for salvation, Zacchaeus had an immediate desire to make things right with those he wronged. His saving faith in Jesus was producing in him the appetite for living righteously. Convicted of his personal sin, Zacchaeus chose to give half of his possessions to the poor and to pay back four times the amount to those he cheated.

It is possible to profess Christ and not possess Christ. Is Christ in you? Do you have the Spirit of Christ (Rm. 8:9)? In order to claim to live in Christ you must walk as Jesus did (I John 2:6). Possessing Christ is demonstrated through instant and perpetual obedience. To know Christ is to obey Christ.

Are you giving clear evidence of your salvation to those in your sphere of influence? Is there anyone you need to forgive? Is there anyone you need to extend an apology to? Are your horizontal relationships right and unbroken? Let others see Jesus in you!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 28th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Conversion, Obedience, Salvation.
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March 27th, 2009

Influencing Your World

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a “sinner.”‘”
Luke 19:5-7 (NIV)

You have a choice. You can be a thermostat and set the environment or you can be a thermometer and reflect the environment. Jesus chose to be a thermostat. Jesus leveraged His influence to transform Zacchaeus and his family. Jesus was intentional about bringing life-change to this chief tax collector and his family.

The people criticized Jesus for His actions. We are introduced to this concept of muttering and grumbling in the Old Testament as the children of Israel grumbled against God, Moses, and Aaron (Ex. 16:6-8). Jesus was willing to be misunderstood and criticized in order to bring eternal life to Zacchaeus and his family. Jesus was willing to endure opposition to present this family with the opportunity to be transformed by His love.

Will you influence your environment or be influenced by your environment? Will you become like those around you or will they become like you? It depends upon your decision to be a thermostat or a thermometer. God has placed you here to be salt and light to influence this decaying and dark world with the purity and the light of His love (Mt. 5:13-16). God has planted you right where you are so that you can bloom for His glory and bring others into the kingdom of light.

Are you willing to be criticized for loving the unlovable? Are you willing to be misunderstood for extending grace to the despised and forgotten? Be a thermostat for the glory of God!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Jesus, Salvation, Zacchaeus.
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March 26th, 2009

Focused Determination

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” Luke 19:1-4 (NIV)

On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Jericho. This city was one of the greatest taxation centers in Palestine and featured world-famous balsam groves, which perfumed the air for miles. On this particular day, something else was in the air. We meet a chief tax collector named, Zacchaeus. He was at the top of the financial pyramid and had many tax collectors under him. Though Zacchaeus was big in wealth, he was little in stature.

Jesus was coming through town and Zacchaeus wanted to see Him. Unable to see over the crowd, Zacchaeus decided to climb a “seek-Him-more” tree, that is, a sycamore tree. Now he was up in the air at a level where he could see Jesus clearly. Zacchaeus was determined to see Jesus, even if it meant climbing a tree.

What motivated Zacchaeus to go to such an extreme to see Jesus? Had he already heard about Jesus healing the blind beggar on the edge of town (Luke 18:35-43)? Maybe Zacchaeus was searching for the true meaning of life and had not found it. Perhaps his income was not sufficient to meet the deepest need of his heart.

It is possible to lose your focus in this world filled with so many voices and allurements. There are countless distractions that dilute our devotion to the One who has given us life. Would you be willing to climb a tree if that is what it took to encounter the Lord? Are you making room for a daily, unhurried connect time with Jesus? Do you truly seek Him daily?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Desperation, Jesus, Outsiders, Seeking God.
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March 25th, 2009

Renewing Your Strength

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

God never intended for you to live the Christian life in your own strength. Joining God in His activity requires His divine energy and strength. Navigating the storms of life demands strength you do not have outside of God’s enabling. The Christian life is not a solo flight. God invites you to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

The Lord will renew your strength as you place your total dependency and confidence in Him. Acknowledge the Lord as the source of your strength. Live expectantly with your eyes focused on the Lord and His mission. Operate with complete assurance that God is who He says He is and that God will do what He says He will do.

As you hope in the Lord, He will renew your strength. As you hope in the Lord, He will cause you to soar like an eagle. As you rely upon the Lord’s provision, He will enable you to run and not grow weary, to walk and not be faint.

Living the Christian life in a fallen world will include seasons of soaring, running, and walking. Your pace will fluctuate and your terrain will vary. The circumstances of life will change from moment to moment. The one constant feature in your life is the Person and Presence of your abiding Savior, Jesus. Anchor your life to the Rock of Ages.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Trust, Wait.
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March 24th, 2009

Kneeling In Prayer

“For this reason I kneel before the Father.” Eph 3:14 (NIV)

Kneeling keeps you standing. Why would Paul assume the posture of kneeling in prayer on behalf of the saints in Ephesus? Paul had already surrendered his life and agenda to God. Kneeling was simply an outward expression of his inward position in Christ.

The Father is worthy of your humility and dependence. He alone is worthy of your passionate adoration and worship. Your heavenly Father is the source of life. He rescued you from the hell bound path you were on. The Father willingly gave His best to take your place upon the cross. Your sin debt has been paid in full.

Now, what are you in need of? What do you need that your heavenly Father has not provided? God is more than enough. His resources are unlimited. His generosity is immeasurable.

Has anything driven you to your knees lately? Have you been kneeling before the Father on behalf of someone in your sphere of influence? When you come to the place of desperation you will find that your heavenly Father has already been working. He is not surprised by your surprises. Nothing ever occurs to God. He already knows.

Find a place to kneel before God in prayer. Share the depths of your heart with the Lord and call out to Him as you pray. Be specific with everything that is draining you and discouraging you. Entrust every detail of your life and your uncertainties to the Lord’s care.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Prayer, Praying, Trust.
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March 23rd, 2009

Valuing People

“Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’” Luke 15:3-7 (NIV)

People matter to God. Until you value what God values, you won’t see what God sees. God sees people where they are and where they could be in Christ. God values people so much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Why would the Creator of the universe value the rebellious and fallen people He created? Why would God be so compassionate toward those who are disconnected and defiant?

Jesus portrayed the willingness to leave the ninety-nine sheep in order to go after the one lost sheep. The one lost sheep is just as valuable to the owner as the ninety-nine that are safe in the open country. The shepherd is willing to risk his own life in order to go after the one sheep. Once the sheep is found, the shepherd returns and invites his friends and neighbors together to rejoice in the rescued runaway.

When one sinner repents, there is more rejoicing in heaven over that one sinner than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need to repent. One sinner reconciled to God produces a celebration in heaven that earth cannot compete with. God values people.

What if you began to view people the way God does? How would the next person you meet benefit from your new perspective? People matter to God! Do they matter to you?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Lost, Sheep, Value.
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March 22nd, 2009

Compassion in Action

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

Don’t hide what is on the inside. God made the first move to come to your rescue. His initiative to reconcile you to Himself was birthed out of His unconditional love for you. God has such a wonderful plan for your life that includes your past, your pain, and your present situation. Be careful not to lose sight of where you were when God made Jesus known to you. Don’t detach from the reality of your former condition. Allow your past to be a reminder of how gracious God is and how His mercy endures forever.

When you consider the love God has demonstrated in your own life, it will motivate you to love others with the measure of love you have received. When you calculate the depth of the forgiveness God has granted to you, it will stir you to extend forgiveness to others in the same measure. God saved you not in response to your righteousness, but out of His abundant mercy. Choose to be merciful toward others as God has been toward you.

God has generously poured out His Holy Spirit on you and allowed you to experience the new birth in Christ. You have been justified by His grace. Having the hope of eternal life, you have become an heir with Christ. This is the time to celebrate God’s compassion in action. This is the time to build bridges to broken people so that they can experience the new birth in Christ that has transformed your life. They can have what you have! You can change their forever!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Jesus, Souls.
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