Archive for July, 2010

July 31st, 2010

Build the Bridge

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Matt 5:9 (NIV)

While viewing a leadership talk delivered by pastor Andy Stanley, I was captivated by his statement, “In eternity past, God looked upon our sin-saturated planet and asked, ‘What can I do to help?’” That concept painted a vivid image in my mind of God being the ultimate bridge builder. God created us and gave us the freedom to choose Him or to reject Him. God saw our sin and our rebellion and chose to build the ultimate bridge paved with His redeeming love. God took the initiative to come to our rescue. The bridge of hope was constructed by the sacrificial death of Jesus. The gulf of our separation has been bridged by the depth of God’s love.

In this seventh Beatitude, Jesus esteems the value of our participation in continuing His ministry on the earth through being peacemakers. Peacemaking involves loving people the way Jesus modeled during His earthly ministry. Being a peacemaker means viewing others through the lens of God’s redemptive pursuit. When you place the same value on others that Jesus does, you position yourself as a peacemaker. Instead of being indifferent toward others who aren’t like you, you will have a deep abiding burden for them to know Jesus personally. Instead of building a wall to distance yourself from those Christ died for, you build a bridge to engage them with the message of salvation.

Let’s choose to walk in the blessing of God by becoming bridge builders. Take the initiative to start loving people with the same redeeming love you have experienced from the heart of God. Join me in looking into the eyes of those God brings into our path and being willing to ask, “What can I do to help?”

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Jesus, Peacemaking.
Interact No Comments
July 30th, 2010

Pick Your Path

“Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” Prov 4:26-27 (NIV)

Have you ever peaked into the rearview mirror of life and wondered, “Why did I choose that path?” Perhaps you made a decision to go in a certain direction at a critical time in your life that catapulted you onto a path that took you places you really did not want to go. You may be living with regret even now as you revisit your moment of decision that placed you on the unhealthy path.

Your daily decisions determine the direction of your life. If you don’t pick your path, a path will pick you. God wants you to walk in wisdom and to exercise spiritual discernment as you seek to operate in His will. Use Spirit infused discretion in your decision making. Ask yourself, “What is the wise thing to do?” Knowing what you know about God and His ways, make level paths for your feet. Allowing the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your life, take only ways that are firm.

God’s way is always the best way. God has a path for you to discover and to experience personally. Sometimes the path God has for you includes delays. You may not understand why you are in a season of uncertainty, but you know that God is with you and that He will allow the fog to lift in His perfect timing. While you are waiting for God to show you the next step on this path, obey what you already know. Enjoy His abiding presence. Share His love and shine His light. Bloom for God’s glory on the path God has for you. If you are on the wrong path, make a wise decision to move in the new direction God shows you.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 30th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Discretion, Wisdom.
Interact No Comments
July 29th, 2010

Advise Your Eyes

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Prov 4:25 (NIV)

Eyesight is an amazing feature of the human body. God’s creation throughout the earth is awesome to behold whether taking in the sight of the blue sky in the day or the star filled sky at night or observing a butterfly dancing from leaf to leaf. From gazing at the flowing wildflowers in the open field to examining the intricacies of a cell under a microscope, eyesight is a gift from God.

There is so much to look at from day to day. To walk in victory, we must very selective in what we allow to come into our minds through the open window of our eyes. Some things we view bring honor to God while other things bring dishonor. Differentiating between the two is a mark of spiritual maturity and a byproduct of the fruit of the Spirit, self-control. Walking in victory while living in a fallen world mandates that we advise our eyes.

  • “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt 5:28 (NIV)
  • “’I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.’” Job 31:1 (NIV)

Take the initiative to advise your eyes. Tell your eyes where to look. Look straight ahead. Fix your gaze so that you will not be distracted by the lure of lust and the syrup of sin. Train your eyes to bounce off of anything that does not honor God. As Billy Graham has said, “The first look is natural; the second look is sin.”

It is wise to advise your eyes by viewing life from God’s perspective. Feed on God’s Word so that your eyes will be informed and your heart will remain pure.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 29th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Lust, Purity, Self-control.
Interact No Comments
July 28th, 2010

Monitor Your Mouth

“Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” Prov 4:24 (NIV)

Have you ever said something that you wish you could retrieve? We have all been there. If only we could have thought about what we were going to say before we said it. Let’s use the word THINK as an acrostic to give us some insightful questions to ask before we speak.

Is it True? Now that’s a great question for us to consider before speaking. What would our world look like if everyone only spoke the truth? Instead of spreading lies and infusing suspicion, everyone would operate based on integrity and truth.

Is it Helpful? Consider your words. Are they beneficial to others? Does your conversation add value to the lives of other people? Let’s commit to speak words that bless and build others up.

Is it Inspiring? God has sealed you by the Holy Spirit so that you can be a vessel of honor. Your life is designed by God to inspire others to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to mature spiritually. Do your words encourage others to reach their full redemptive potential?

Is it Necessary? Sometimes silence is the best option. When we are about to say something that is not necessary, maybe that’s a good time to hit the pause button.

Is it Kind? I remember hearing Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, say that “a Christian never has the luxury of being unkind.” Before we speak, we might want to ask the question, “Is it kind?” Will our words reflect the heart of Jesus? Will our words demonstrate the value that God places on others?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Purity, Speech.
Interact No Comments
July 27th, 2010

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Prov 4:23 (NIV)

God loves you and has a plan for your life. Satan hates you and also has a plan for your life. God’s plan is for you to stay close and clean. Satan’s plan is for you to stay distant and dirty. God saved you and set you apart so that you can walk in His holiness and enjoy His abiding presence. God rescued you from the dominion of darkness and placed you in kingdom of light so that you can continue the ministry of Jesus before you go to heaven. The enemy, Satan, will not cease trying to devour your devotion to God.

Guard your heart! Don’t allow Satan, sin, or selfishness to invade your heart. Blockade your heart with the truth of God’s Word and fasten the breastplate of righteousness in place. Don’t give the devil access to your heart. Post guard! You are to love God with all your heart and to preserve your heart for His rightful place as Lord!

God wants you to have a pure heart and to embody pure motives. Be single-minded and render undivided loyalty to Christ. Allow Jesus to reign in your life. Invite the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your heart. Leave no room for the enemy to confiscate any fraction of real estate within your heart. Post a “no trespassing” sign at the entrance of your heart to alert the enemy that he is not welcome to occupy any portion of your heart.

Your heart is the wellspring of life. In the language of the Old Testament, the heart represents the inner person, the seat of motives and actions. The heart includes the thinking process and the will. You have the capacity to obey God with all of your heart. Guard His treasure, your heart!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Protection, Purity.
Interact No Comments
July 26th, 2010

Shaped for Eternal Significance

“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” Jer 18:3-4 (NIV)

The safest place for you to be is in the center of God’s will. The most dangerous place for you to be is in the center of God’s will. When you are living in the center of God’s will, you experience His provision and protection. However, you are the greatest threat to Satan when you are living in the center of God’s will. When you think about it, being on Satan’s radar is an indication of being a threat to his kingdom. You cannot walk in the center of God’s will unopposed.

One of my Sunday School teachers who flew an A-10 fighter jet in the Air Force used to say, “The closer you get to the enemy, the greater the conflict.” Motion causes friction. When you are living to please God, be ready for that spiritual motion to cause friction and spiritual warfare.

Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, experienced the painful reality of being on the potter’s wheel. God placed Jeremiah on the potter’s wheel to demonstrate His loving and corrective touch. God demonstrated the value He places on purity, holiness, and full surrender. God expects that of every generation and every nation.

Don’t resist those seasons of being placed on the potter’s wheel. Remember that God is the Potter and you are the clay. God tenderly and lovingly molds you and shapes you for His glory. God removes the impediments in your life that restrict His flow through you. Be still! Rest! Give God access to every area of your life. Allow God to shape you for His eternal significance.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, July 26th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category God's Way, Potter's Wheel, Significance.
Interact No Comments
July 25th, 2010

Unwavering Faith

“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!’” Dan 6:16 (NIV)

Daniel had a track record of faithfulness to God. His loyalty to God was unwavering. After the king signed a decree forbidding Daniel to pray to God, Daniel allowed his devotion to God to supersede his devotion to the king. Daniel was not willing to disobey God in order to obey the king. Instead, Daniel honored God at the expense of the king’s retribution. Daniel paid a hefty price for his obedience. He was thrown into the lions’ den.

  • “Daniel answered, ‘O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.’” Dan 6:21-22 (NIV)

Your devotion and faithfulness to God may not ever lead you to be thrown into a literal lions’ den. However, your lions’ den may simply be having others misunderstand you or criticize you for your devotion to God. Your family members may not support you in your walk with God. Your co-workers or neighbors may not fully understand your commitment to serving God. Your lions’ den may be when your peers fail to comprehend your level of loyalty to God.

Serve continually! Trust God completely! God can shut the mouths of the lions. God can redeem the hurt you endure. Allow God to use you to make an impact for His glory for every generation. Be comforted by the fact that God is all-knowing and nothing escapes His attention. God knows right where you are and He knows exactly what you need to accomplish His plan.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 25th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Faithfulness, God's Provision, Persecution.
Interact No Comments
July 24th, 2010

Genuine Faith

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Dan 3:16-18 (NIV)

Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever been in an environment that provided you with an opportunity to make a bold stand for the Lord? Maybe your home is a place where your faith is put to the test. Maybe your work environment has been a difficult place for you to express your faith. Swimming upstream is always a challenge. Whenever you decide to go in the opposite direction of the cultural current, you will face resistance and opposition.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of impending death if they chose not to abide by the king’s command, where willing to obey God at all costs. Instead of bowing to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they chose to honor God even if it meant death. They demonstrated their belief in God’s ability to save them from the blazing furnace. They went a step further by declaring that even if God did not deliver them that they would not worship the image of gold.

Do you have that kind of “but even if God does not” faith? Are you willing to obey God in the face of opposition and in the face of being misunderstood by your family or peers? Even if God does not deliver you from your difficult circumstances, are you willing to obey Him and honor Him?

The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They would not bow, they would not bend, they would not budge, and they would not burn! God rescued them through the blazing furnace. God allowed them to go through the fire unharmed. Now that’s a life changing experience!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, July 24th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Faith, God's Provision.
Interact No Comments
July 23rd, 2010

Available for God’s Use

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

Isaiah had a life changing experience. He looked up and saw the Lord in all of His holiness. Isaiah looked inward and recognized his own sinfulness in light of God’s holiness. Isaiah then looked outward and detected the sinful condition of others. In this life changing experience, Isaiah heard God’s call and responded with instant obedience. Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Will you make an impact upon every generation? Are you willing to allow God to call you to a new level of living? God’s grace always matches His assignment for your life. Where God guides He always provides. There is never a better moment than now to obey God instantly and make yourself totally available for His use. God can do more in you and through you in the next six months than all the previous years of your life combined.

God values the work He does in you more than the work He does through you. Before God used Isaiah to make an eternal impact, God had to do an internal work in Isaiah’s life. The internal work always impacts the eternal work. Don’t bypass what God wants to do in you. Isaiah came face to face with the holiness of God in worship. Isaiah’s worship led to a personal assessment of his morality and then the morality of those around him. After God did this great work in Isaiah, He invited Isaiah to join His world redemptive activity.

You have a chance to make an eternal impact for every generation. Are you available? Look upward! Look inward! Look outward!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Availability, God's Agenda, Usefulness.
Interact No Comments
July 22nd, 2010

The Desert of Preparation

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” Ex 3:11 (NIV)

Who am I? Why am I here? These two basic questions are innate in every human being. We long to know who we are and we strive to discover why we are placed on this planet called earth. Our security is proportionate to our understanding of our identity.

God allowed Moses to experience forty years in the palace and then forty years in the desert. God wanted Moses to learn some things about his personal identity through a desert experience that he could not learn in the palace. God was preparing Moses for the purpose of delivering the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. The burning bush encounter was a life changing experience for Moses. The encounter enabled Moses to come to know God in a personal way. God revealed His holiness to Moses and then unveiled His plan for Moses to embrace.

As you can imagine, Moses could not visualize himself as the deliverer of the children of Israel. They had been slaves for over 400 years. Moses began making excuses and tried to deny his usefulness to God. Moses began to focus on what he lacked and missed the reality of God’s ability to do the extraordinary through ordinary people.

Have you ever doubted your usefulness to God? Have you ever tried to convince God that you are not fit for His plan? God is not impressed with our abilities or our inabilities. God is not limited by our limitations. Are you willing to yield to God’s control and allow Him to have His way in your life? God is willing to take you through a desert experience to prepare you for His assignment.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Preparation, Sanctification.
Interact No Comments