Archive for March, 2011

March 31st, 2011

Sensitive to Sin

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matt 5:4 (NIV)

Are you constantly broken over your sinfulness? Christ-centered living involves brokenness. In the language of the New Testament, there are nine different words used to describe sorrow. The Greek word Jesus uses here is the strongest of the nine. This level of mourning is equated with grieving over the death of a loved one. Mourning over your sin is a prerequisite for receiving comfort. Brokenness over sin leads to confession of sin which leads to forgiveness of sin. Thus, brokenness precedes blessing.

One cannot come into the Kingdom of God without being broken over sin. Without true repentance, there is no salvation. Once a person becomes a child of God, he or she must be continually broken over his or her sinfulness. We must love what God loves and hate what God hates. Those who are continually mourning will be continually comforted by God.

  • “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” Psalm 51:3-4 (NIV)
  • “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor 7:10 (NIV)

Step 1: Demonstrate godly sorrow for your sin.

Step 2: Confess and repent of your sin.

Step 3: Receive God’s forgiveness and comfort.

Don’t ever get numb towards sin. Allow God to keep you sensitive to sin. Sin should break your heart just like it breaks the heart of God. Now walk in the freedom you have in Christ.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Brokenness, Sin.
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March 30th, 2011

Paved with Humility

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:3 (NIV)

The highway of happiness is paved with humility. Happiness and humility go together. Jesus modeled a life of humility by submitting to the Father’s agenda and by living to benefit others. In humility, Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross to provide for the forgiveness of our sins and to reconcile us back to God.

What is meant by poor in spirit? It means a complete absence of pride, a complete absence of self-assurance and self-reliance. It means a consciousness that we are nothing in the presence of God. To be poor in spirit is the tremendous awareness of our utter nothingness as we come face to face with God.

Discover the haven of humility. Admit that you don’t have it all together. Admit that you haven’t arrived. Recognize that you haven’t learned all that God wants you to learn and you haven’t completed everything God wants you to do. Make an accurate assessment of yourself before a holy God in light of His holiness.

  • “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)
  • “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Col 3:12 (NIV)

Give up your kingdom so you can inherit God’s kingdom! Clothe yourself with humility. Being poor in spirit is a mark of spiritual maturity as you acknowledge your utter dependency upon God and His grace to help you live as a citizen of His kingdom. You cannot live the life God has for you without His supernatural enablement. His power comes to you through the doorway of humility.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Brokenness, Humility.
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March 29th, 2011

Filing Spiritual Bankruptcy

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:3 (NIV)

Delays, detours, and distractions are common in this life. Sin, sickness, and sorrow permeate the landscape of our humanity. Is it possible to find happiness while living in a fallen world? The keys to happiness are found in the Beatitudes. Jesus is the greatest preacher who ever lived and preached the greatest sermon ever preached.

The happiness Jesus speaks of in the Beatitudes is not based on circumstances or external conditions. Happy, blissful, and blessed are those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy before a holy God. Pride has no part in Christ’s kingdom. The door into His kingdom is low, and no one who stands tall in pride will ever go through it.

The world emphasizes self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-expression. Jesus went into the display window of life and changed all the price tags. Jesus countered what the world values and ushered in the kingdom values that bring honor to God.

  • “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Prov 16:5 (NIV)
  • “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov 16:18 (NIV)

Take pride for a ride. Instead of an ego trip, we need to go on an integrity trip. Get honest about your destitution and your spiritual poverty before God. Identify and eliminate any fraction of pride in your life. Embrace the way of humility and recognize your dependency upon God and His abundant grace.

Uncover the poison of pride. You will never reach your full redemptive potential while fertilizing pride in your life. Pride has no place in the Christian life fully yielded to the Lordship of Christ. The poison of pride will inhibit the fruit of the Spirit and stifle your effectiveness in the kingdom. Take pride for a ride!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Humility, Pride.
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March 28th, 2011

Proven 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. 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?

The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They did not bow, they did not bend, they did not budge, and they did not burn!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Persecution, Shadrach.
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March 27th, 2011

Suffering as a Christian

“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:16 (NIV)

When you received the gift of eternal life, you were saved by the grace of God. Your name was written in the Lamb’s book of life and your eternal security was sealed by the Holy Spirit. Your position in Christ is that of having a right relationship with God and a right relationship with others. The sacrificial death of Christ upon the cross provided you with a new identity, in Christ, as a child of God.

Receiving the benefits of salvation is a joy. However, what you may not have realized is that being a follower of Jesus Christ includes suffering. You cannot be on mission with God and give your life to fulfilling the Great Commission and live out the Great Commandment without an element of suffering. Going against the current of culture will produce a level of suffering. Combating the satanic opposition from the kingdom of darkness will generate a level of suffering. Denying yourself and crucifying the flesh in order to walk in the Spirit will spawn an encounter with suffering.

Do not be ashamed if you suffer as a Christian. Maybe you work in a difficult environment where Christianity is not well received. Maybe your home is not conducive to the reality of your Christianity. Perhaps being a Christian on your campus, at work, or in your home places you in the minority. Do not be ashamed. Give praise to God that you have high honor and privilege of bearing that name. You are Christ on your campus. You are Christ at your work. You are Christ in your home.

Everywhere you go, you are representing Jesus! You are continuing the ministry of Jesus on the earth by doing what He did. You wear His name and you bear His identity. Remember, you may be the only Jesus others see!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 27th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, Suffering, Witness.
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March 26th, 2011

Nourishing Your Soul

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2 (NIV)

Soul rest has come to mean more to me since turning forty-one. For so long, I focused on physical rest and making sure I got ample rest each night. But soul rest is different. Soul rest has to do with how you are doing on the inside. Soul rest has to do with your relationship with the Lord and with others. Soul rest has to do with your level of morality, godliness, and purity. When your load exceeds your limit, you get tired physically and experience soul exhaustion. During these seasons, you will have nothing to give because your soul is empty.

Spending time with people who replenish you and spending time doing activities that refresh you will promote soul renewal. Guard your daily intimacy with God. Practice His Presence throughout the day. Soul rest comes as you feed on God’s Word and as you enjoy unhurried time alone with God in prayer.

Your soul will find rest in God. He is your salvation. He is your rock. Come to the Lord and experience a perpetual refreshing. Anchor your life to Rock of your salvation. You will never be shaken because God is your fortress. You can take refuge in Him.

Are you caring for your soul? Do you seek to employ a weekly Sabbath? Are you creating margin in your life to be still and know that He is God? Incorporate a weekly pit stop into your week to allow the Lord to refuel your soul and to renew your vision for life and ministry.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Prayer, Rest, Sabbath.
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March 25th, 2011

Tools God Uses

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29 (NIV)

God saved you to become like Christ. Your sin has been forgiven and your eternal destiny has been secured. In Christ, you are adopted into God’s family and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Now you are in the process of becoming who you are in Christ. God predestined that you be conformed to the image of Christ. You get to participate in the process of that transformation.

What are some of the tools God uses to conform us to the likeness of Christ? Sometimes God uses the hammer of adversity and the chisel of suffering to bring us into conformity with the character of Christ. Other times, God may use seasons of silence to test our faith and to prove our devotion. God allows fully yielded and fully devoted followers of Christ to come into our path to model likeness of Christ. They give us a portrait of what we can become as we mature in our faith.

Assess your current reality? How is God conforming you to the likeness of Christ? Are you being responsive to His prompting? Allow God to chip off anything in your life that does not bring honor to Christ. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of your life that distracts from your spiritual progress. Daily surrender to the Lordship of Christ and seek His face in prayer. Embrace the reality of God’s will.

God desires that you become more and more like Christ each day. God uses various tools to conform you into the image of Christ so that you can be an effective tool for His glory on the earth. Your life matters to God. Every detail matters to Him.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, March 25th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Conformity, Romans.
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March 24th, 2011

Predestined to be Conformed

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29 (NIV)

How did we make it into the family tree of Christ? We are products of the grace of God. The only way in is through the doorway of God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). Are you thankful that God made a way for us to know Him personally and intimately?

You are in the Royal Family through the grace of God as evidenced in your faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Now that you have been adopted into His family, God wants you to become like Christ. The process of sanctification follows salvation. Once you are saved, God places you on a path to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

We have the wonderful privilege of participating with God in the process of conformity. God seeks to remove anything in us that doesn’t look like Jesus. Sometimes God will use the chisel of adversity and sometimes God will use the hammer of silence. God will allow us to go through seasons of uncertainty to conform us into the likeness of Christ.

Reflect for a few moments on the level of Christ-likeness that has been attained in your journey thus far. What behavior and attitudes do you exhibit currently that just don’t line up with Christ-likeness? Will you participate with God in the process of conformity? Spend time studying the life of Christ and emulating His life. You have received His imputed righteousness. Now work out what He has worked in.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 24th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Conformity, Romans.
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March 23rd, 2011

God’s Plan will Succeed

“At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.’” 1 Kings 18:36-37 (NIV)

Elijah prayed a bold prayer and experienced the power of God. He had challenged the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah to a showdown on Mount Carmel. The prophets called on the name of Baal from morning till noon and received no response. However, Elijah had the sacrifice drenched in water and then he stepped forward to call on God. The power of God fell and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil, and the water in the trench.

Elijah prayed to God in faith and experienced a demonstration of God’s power. The people saw this and fell prostrate to the ground and exclaimed, “The Lord—he is God!” This was truly a mountaintop experience that portrayed the effectiveness of praying in faith. God answers prayer!

What are you currently combating? What is perplexing you? Have you considered taking that burden to the Lord in prayer? You know that God is able to consume a water-soaked sacrifice. You know that God can cause fire to fall at a moment’s notice. There’s nothing beyond God’s reach.

Do you believe that God will do what He says He will do? Do you believe that God is able to deliver you through your circumstances? God is waiting for you to take Him at His Word and to entrust your life to His care. You will never face anything that God cannot handle. God will work everything together for your good and for His glory!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Elijah, God's Purpose, Sovereignty.
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March 22nd, 2011

Unlocking Potential

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

God brings people into our lives to help us see and seize the potential God has placed inside of us. When you allow someone to get close enough to you so they can know you personally, it creates a unique relationship for your potential to be unleashed. God allows others to hold up a mirror before us to see what we haven’t been seeing.

Think about the people God has brought into your life at specific moments to help you realize your potential. These wonderful people believed in you and saw things in you that you did not even detect. They had the ability to draw out the best in you. How refreshing to have someone love you and to believe in you!

Jesus demonstrated the value of investing in others. He helped the disciples recognize their potential and then unleashed their potential in ministry. For example, Jesus believed in Matthew, the tax collector, and enabled him to become a fully devoted disciple. Jesus believed in Peter and helped him to become a vibrant leader of the New Testament church.

Jesus can take a nobody and make him or her a somebody even when everybody fails to see the potential resident within. Jesus specializes in helping ordinary people do the extraordinary.

Are you available to draw out the purposes of a person’s heart? Are you willing to invest in another person’s life at the level of seeing their potential and helping them seize their God-given potential? God wants to use you in bringing out the best in others. You can become a conduit of blessing in the lives of others.

Ask God to show you an individual to invest in. The person may be a family member, a friend, or a co-worker. Seek to draw out the best in that person for the glory of God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Encouragement, Potential.
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