Archive for December, 2009

December 31st, 2009

Brokenness

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalms 51:16-17 (NIV)

On the final day of the year, let’s explore what moves the heart of God. You have had 365 days to allow God to use you for His glory. You have experienced the ups and downs of living in a fallen world. Each day was filled with challenges and opportunities. Each day presented you with decisions to make and answers to seek. The year may have tested your faith and strengthened your resolve. What did you learn about moving the heart of God?

In the 51st Psalm, David clarifies how God desires for His children to respond to Him. Sacrifice and burnt offerings are insufficient. External religion will not move the heart of God. God delights in His children exhibiting genuine brokenness. When we come before God broken over our sin and desperate for His approval, we move His heart. God desires that we seek Him in humility and brokenness. We do not impress God with our external righteousness and religion. God examines the heart to test our motives. God is moved when we acknowledge our dependency upon Him.

Have you been broken before the Lord lately? Have you had a contrite heart? David poured out his soul in anguish before God over the sin in his own life. Personal responsibility for our personal sin will be evidenced by our personal brokenness before the Lord. God’s compassion will be unleashed as you pour out your soul before Him in prayer. Pray that God will keep you broken before Him as you live in this fallen world. We need Him every minute of every hour of every day. Confess all known sin and allow God to prepare you for this New Year. Release the past and embrace the future God has for you!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 31st, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Blessing, Brokenness, God's Heart.
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December 30th, 2009

Down-to-earth Humility

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Phil 2:3 (NIV)

How do you view yourself? Your answer to that question provides insight into your understanding of humility. As Rick Warren says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” It is possible to have an inflated view of yourself. Paul addressed this concept by writing, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3 NIV). To use sober judgment is to view yourself accurately. Begin to see yourself as God sees you. In humility, embrace your dependency upon God and your new identity in Christ.

How do you view others? When you examine the life of Jesus, you will notice that His life was about others. Jesus honored God by serving others. Jesus did not neglect Himself, but He put the needs of others before His own. He lived to benefit others. Jesus valued people and loved them unconditionally. His atoning work on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of the value He placed on others.

Exhibit down-to-earth humility by embracing a proper view of yourself in light of what God says about you. Display a lifestyle of placing the same value on others that Jesus does. Begin to view others through the lens of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Jesus has established your value and the value of others through His redeeming love. In humility, reciprocate that same value and that same love to those God brings into your path.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Ambition, Humility, Others.
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December 29th, 2009

Deep Craving to Reach the Lost

“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)

God uses the person who embodies a deep craving for the lost. It is possible to live your life each day and become so consumed with your own life that you totally bypass the reality of lost people. You can become so fixated on meeting your own needs that you overlook the glaring reality that lost people go to hell.

Only those who have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ will go to heaven. Hell is real and the path leading there is broad. Heaven is real and the path that leads there is very narrow. As a child of God, you know the way for a person to get to heaven and have eternal life. You know that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6).

Now that you know Jesus personally, be active in sharing your faith with others. You may be the only Jesus others see. You may be their only hope. Don’t conceal what God has done for you by providing you with the gift of eternal life by His grace and through faith in Jesus. Reveal the Good News of Jesus to the world beginning with the next person God brings into your path.

Be sensitive to opportunities that God presents you with today. Seize the moment to make Jesus known. Actively share your faith so that those who know you, but don’t know Christ, will come to know Christ because they know you!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Obedience, Soul Consciousness, Soulwinning.
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December 28th, 2009

Passion for His Presence

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 (NIV)

What kind of person does God use? What are the characteristics that are evident in the person God uses? God uses the person who has a passion for His presence. One of the characteristics evident in the person God uses is passion. Passion is more than a feeling. Passion is the divine energy from God to accomplish His will His way.

What are you passionate about? What makes you come alive? You may be passionate about your career, your car, your family, or your finances. You may be passionate about your position, prestige, pleasure, or possessions. You can be passionately devoted to things that are good and yet miss God’s best for you. God has a plan for your life and you will need His passion to accomplish His plan.

God uses the person who is passionate in the pursuit of God’s presence. God wants you to seek Him diligently and passionately. God wants you to call on Him while He is near. Don’t allow your passion for temporal things to rob your passion for that which is eternal.

  • “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18 (NIV)
  • Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Col 3:1-3 (NIV)

God wants to be sought. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Ask God to restore your passion for His presence. Confess anything in your life that has diluted your devotion. Return to your first love!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 28th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Devotion, God's Presence, Passion.
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December 27th, 2009

My Father’s Business

“’Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’” Luke 2:49 (NIV)

Diffused light does not have much power to impact the environment it is placed in, but focused light can cut steel. Your life is most powerful when it is most focused. Our proclivity is to drift into a fragmented lifestyle where we are trying to divert our energy into too many tasks. It is so easy to dilute our impact by seeking to keep too many plates spinning at a given time. We become generalist instead of specialists.

Jesus lived a focused life. He was laser focused on being about His Father’s business. God’s agenda was Jesus’ top priority. Even at age twelve Jesus affirmed His devotion to God’s will. Nothing was more important to Jesus than operating every moment in the center of God’s will. Jesus was committed to fulfilling God’s plan. Shortly after His baptism at age thirty, Jesus declared that He had come down from heaven not to do His will but to do the will of His Father (John 6:38).

Have you oriented your life to the Father’s will? Have you made necessary adjustments in your life to focus on living in the center of God’s will? You will have competing agendas, countless opportunities to drift, and a persistent gravitational pull from the enemy to downplay the urgency of God’s agenda. The world, the flesh, and the Devil will seek to capture your devotion. Your life will be tugged from various directions in order to get you off mission.

Don’t give in to the temptation to become fragmented. Don’t dilute your devotion. Renew your commitment to serve God and to obey His Word. God’s will is for you to be fully yielded and fully surrendered to His prompting.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 27th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category God's Will, Jesus, Submission.
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December 26th, 2009

Positioning for the Future

“When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” Luke 2:39-40 (NIV)

Can you name the people God used to position you for the future you are now in? Think about their investment in your life. Weigh their deposits of encouragement, feedback, and godly counsel. You are a product of the decisions you have made over your lifetime and a product of God’s grace through others in your life.

God chose to use Joseph and Mary to position Jesus for the future God had for Him. They obeyed the law and they obeyed God. They returned to their own town and were faithful in parenting Jesus. Jesus grew, became strong, and was filled with wisdom. God’s grace was upon Him. God could have positioned Jesus for the future without Joseph and Mary, yet He chose to use human instrumentality.

Just as God has brought people into your life to position you for the future, God wants to use you to help others. Are you available to be used of God to position others for the future? God wants to touch others through your life. Your personal testimony of God’s faithfulness and your daily walk with Jesus are vital components for being used of God to impact the lives of others.

You can make an immediate difference as well as an eternal difference in the lives of those God brings into your path. God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in Christ so that you can be a blessing to others. Will you make yourself available for God’s use?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 26th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Obedience, Parenting.
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December 25th, 2009

Miracle in the Manger

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)

What does Christmas mean to you? What will you experience on this special day? Perhaps this will be a busy day for you as you make your rounds to connect with family. Or maybe for you it is a quiet day with minimal activity. Whether the pace is intense or tranquil, there is a miracle in the manger.

When you contemplate the vastness of God’s love, you have to consider the decision God made to take on human form and to dwell among us. Mary wrapped the Son of God in cloths and placed Him in a manger. Can you imagine the Creator of the universe being place in a feeding trough? The One who could have created a castle for that moment, chose to be placed in a manger.

The miracle of the manger is that God chose to come to our rescue. God was willing to become like us so that we could become like Him. God orchestrated our reconciliation. Our transformation was initiated and implemented by God and for God.

Will you make room for Jesus in your life? Will you allow Him to be evident in your life as your Savior and Lord? He saved you so that you can present the miracle of the manger to those who are not yet connected to Christ. Jesus provided the miracle of your transformation so that you can join Him in providing that miracle to a dark and decaying world.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, December 25th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Manger, Mary.
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December 24th, 2009

Celebrating God’s Faithfulness

“And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is his name.’” Luke 1:46-49 (NIV)

Life moves so quickly that it is sometimes a challenge to slow down long enough to count our blessings. God has lavished us with His love and unleashed His bounty of blessings in our lives. We are so fortunate to be alive and reconciled to God through Christ. Our new identity in Christ is eternally secure. We have instant access to the throne room of God through prayer. The Holy Spirit is living inside of us and Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. Jesus has given us eternal life and life to the full.

Mary was so overwhelmed by the favor of God in being chosen to bear the Son of God. She celebrated God’s faithfulness by glorifying the Lord and rejoicing in God as her Savior. Mary affirmed God’s attentiveness to her humble state and praised God for the blessings He bestowed upon her. With deep gratitude, Mary expressed her appreciation to God through song. She acknowledged the great things the Mighty One had done for her.

Have you had that kind of experience where you began singing praise to God for all that He has done for you? You may want to carve out a few moments to write or type a response of praise to God for all that He has done for you. Express your gratitude to God for His faithfulness in your life. He will continue to see you through. Remember, you are the apple of His eye!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 24th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category God's Faithfulness, Incarnation, Mary.
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December 23rd, 2009

Available for God’s Use

“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:38 (NIV)

Why did God choose Mary to give birth to the Son of God? In His perfect wisdom, God chose Mary because He knew she would willingly make herself available for His use. Mary affirmed her availability by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant.” She honored God by her posture of availability and humility. She demonstrated such a beautiful portrait of being receptive and responsive to God’s will. Mary declared, “May it be to me as you have said.” In other words, she was acknowledging that she belonged to God for His glory.

God uses people who are available. What is your level of availability for God’s use? Often our lives become so cluttered and overextended, that there’s little room for availability. Can you relate? God wants to use you. God is more concerned about your availability than your ability. In humility, make yourself available for God’s use. Remember that you were made by God to accomplish His plan. God’s plan includes you and your willingness to be His instrument.

What needs to change in your life? Surrender everything in your life to the Lord’s control. Give Him free reign in your life. Make the necessary adjustments in your daily schedule to make room for God. Embrace a posture of humility to allow God to have His way in your life. Be receptive to God’s agenda and respond to God’s invitation to join Him. He loves you so much.

Your availability matters to God. Would you be willing to say, “Lord, I’m Yours?”

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Mary, Surrender.
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December 22nd, 2009

The God Factor

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’” Luke 1:30-31 (NIV)

God chooses ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary. Mary was just a teenager when she encountered the angel of the Lord. You can imagine the fear that gripped her when she had this special visitation. The angel comforted Mary and assured her that she had found favor with God. Then he announced that she would be with child and give birth to a son. Mary was instructed that she was to give him the name Jesus.

Her response was very practical. Mary wanted to know how this could possibly be a reality since she was a virgin. She was thinking in practical and human terms. This conception would not be possible without the God factor.

When you factor in the work of God and the will of God, you come to recognize that nothing is impossible with God. The angel let Mary know that the Holy Spirit would come upon her (Luke 1:35). Mary was soon found to be with child through the Holy Spirit (Mt. 1:18).

What is the God factor? The activity of God through ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary is the God factor. God will accomplish His will in His timing regardless of the obstacles that seem to surface. God is not limited by our limitations. God is not stifled by our deficiencies. God’s agenda will prevail. Will you participate with God in His activity? Are you willing to consider the God factor when assessing your current circumstances?

Don’t underestimate the power of God. There is nothing beyond God’s reach and there is nothing impossible with God.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Mary, Miracle.
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