Archive for July, 2011

July 31st, 2011

Mountain and Valley

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” Matt 17:1-2 (NIV)

If only life was a perpetual mountaintop experience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be on a constant spiritual high and never come down? Peter, James, and John had a once in a lifetime experience with Jesus on the top of a mountain. Jesus was transfigured before them. Peter wanted to build three shelters in order to stay on the mountaintop and live in the radiance of Jesus’ glory.

Jesus used the experience to teach Peter, James, and John the necessity to come down the mountain to meet the needs of people in the valley. In other words, God surprises us with mountaintop experiences to reveal His glory so that we can go into the world to reveal God’s glory to others.

Consider the terrain of your spiritual journey. Can you recall the mountaintop experiences you have had with God? Did God reveal His glory to you in those moments so that you would stay in the moment? No! God gave you those special glimpses into His nature and character so that you could go into the valley of life to connect with people in desperate need of God’s salvation.

God moments can be difficult to transfer to others. Often, the God moments are for you to be encouraged and strengthened personally. The experience should motivate you to go into the world to declare the message of reconciliation to a world alienated from God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 31st, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Glory, Jesus, Transfiguration.
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July 30th, 2011

Authentic Worship

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col 3:17 (NIV)

You have the power to conceal or reveal God’s glory. God reveals His glory to you as you worship Him privately and corporately. Whether you encounter God personally through private worship or in a setting with other believers, God reveals His glory. He wants you know His nature and His character. God wants you to come to know Him by experience.

As God reveals Himself to you, your relationship deepens. Your understanding of God’s purposes and ways grows as you spend time with Him. What are you going to do with what God reveals to you? Are you going to conceal His glory or reveal His glory?

Authentic worship is a lifestyle. It is not what you come to on Sunday morning or what you go away from on Sunday afternoon. Worship is living a life that honors God as you are doing life in this fallen world. Everything you do should be an act of worship. Even menial tasks can be used to reveal God’s glory.

  • “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 (NIV)

God will orchestrate opportunities today for you to reveal His glory to others. What will others come to know about God’s nature and character through your willingness to reveal His glory? Choose to radiate His presence and reveal His redeeming love. Offer your body as a living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice to God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Motives, Worship.
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July 29th, 2011

Standing Firm in Trials

“Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” 1 Thess 3:7-8 (NIV)

God allows trials to come into your life to reveal your faith. Whatever is on the inside of you will come out during trials. When trials come, your faith is featured in the display window of life. If doubt, bitterness, and resentment are lingering inside of you, they will seep out during the season of trials. God will purge you of anything that does not bring honor to His Name.

God also uses trials to develop your faith. As you know, God does not waste the trials He allows into your life. God will develop your faith to match the assignment He has for you. The testing of your faith will develop perseverance (James 1:2-3). Spiritual muscles are built through the resistance trials produce. Without pain, there is no growth. God will convert the pain into something beneficial to accomplish His plan.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy were immensely encouraged by the faith of the church of the Thessalonians. Their faith had been revealed through the trials they endured. Living out their Christian faith in a pagan culture was not without resistance. God developed their faith to match the assignment He had for them. Standing firm in the Lord was their faith response to living in an anti-Christian environment.

What do the trials you are facing reveal about your faith? Are you standing firm in the Lord? You have the Holy Spirit living in you making intercession on your behalf. Jesus is at the right hand of our Father interceding for you. No need to retreat. Advance through adversity by standing firm in the Lord.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 29th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Standing Firm, Trials, Victory.
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July 28th, 2011

Triumph in Temptation

“For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.” 1 Thess 3:5 (NIV)

Paul cared about the status of the faith of the church of the Thessalonians. He sent Timothy to encourage them in their faith and to measure their progress. Paul knew the power of the evil one to dilute passion and to diffuse spiritual power. The tempter might have tempted them to return to the lifestyle God had delivered them from.

As you walk with the Lord each day, be alert to the strategy of the evil one to distract you from your passion for God’s will. The enemy will seek to divert your focus from godliness to worldliness, from selflessness to selfishness, and from eternal things to temporal things. Satan’s goal is not to get you to move twenty miles off mission. He just wants you to move an inch today. And then, tomorrow he will seek to get you to move away from God another inch. Before you know it, you will have drifted far from God and lose your passion for the things of God.

  • “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thess 3:3 (NIV)

Stand firm by anchoring your faith to the rock of God’s character. The Lord is faithful. He will not waver in the storms of life. God will not shift in the assault of Satanic attacks on your faith. The Lord will strengthen you in the midst of the battle. He will protect you from the flaming arrows of the evil one. God’s grace is more than sufficient for the temptation you encounter and the battles you fight.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Temptation, Trials, Triumph.
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July 27th, 2011

Faith and Friendship

“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.” 1 Thess 3:2-3 (NIV)

Paul had a deep abiding love for the church at Thessalonica. The new believers were developing in their faith and understanding of God’s will. After a season of separation, Paul sent Timothy to reconnect with the congregation in order to strengthen and encourage them in the midst of their trials.

Living out the Christian faith in the sin dominating culture of Thessalonica was not easy. The believers were persecuted for their faith in Jesus. The magnetic pull of their former lifestyle continued to pull at them. The believers were unsettled by the persistence of their trials. Timothy invested time and energy in them to strengthen their faith and to encourage their faithfulness.

God does not intend for you to live the Christian life without His enablement. God has empowered you by the Person of the Holy Spirit living in you. Stand firm in your faith by surrendering to the control of the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to fuel your faith and to ignite your enthusiasm.

You need Christian friends to live the life God has for you in this fallen world. Don’t fly solo! Don’t try to accomplish God’s will without the people God brings into your life to encourage you and to strengthen you. Remember, to have a friend, you need to be a friend. As you serve others, watch how God brings godly friends into your life to encourage you along the way.

Take a moment to list and thank God for the Christian friends He has brought into your life.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Friends, Trials.
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July 26th, 2011

Divine Assistance

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Heb 1:1-2 (NIV)

God is a God of revelation. He unveils that which was once hidden. God passionately reveals His truth so that we can know Him and serve Him and fulfill His plan. His revelation is progressive in that God chose to reveal His general revelation through nature (Rom 1:20) and His special revelation by Jesus (John 1:14). God became like us so that we can become like Him.

Our God is a God who speaks. He desires to communicate His love to His creation. Henry Blackaby, in his study, Experiencing God, taught us that God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. The Holy Spirit enables the believer to understand and apply God’s Word.

  • “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 (NIV)

Notice how the Holy Spirit is identified as a Teacher and a Reminder. God, through the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom to appropriate His Word in our daily living. The Holy Spirit teaches us God’s Word and reminds us of what God has spoken.

As you read God’s Word, ask God to give you the Spirit of wisdom so that you may know Him better. Are you growing in your knowing? Have you placed your faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Holy Spirit, Revelation.
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July 25th, 2011

Journey with Jesus

“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! Trust God’s plan!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category God's Plan, Jesus, Trust.
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July 24th, 2011

Being Content

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Phil 4:12 (NIV)

The landscape of living in a fallen world is littered with inconsistencies, fluctuation, and instability. Selfishness and sin permeate our planet. People let us down. Deception, injustice, and greed fuel the choices made throughout the earth on a daily basis. Sound hopeless? Don’t lose heart.

Paul understood the cultural current of living on a broken planet. He experienced the extremes of life including being a persecutor of the church and then becoming a preacher of the gospel. Paul knew adversity on a first name basis. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 for a snapshot of his resume of rejection, ridicule, and rigorous suffering. While incarcerated by the Roman government, Paul writes this personal love letter to the church at Philippi to remind them of his love for them and to encourage them in their faith.

You may not be able to control your circumstances, but with Christ’s help, you can control how you respond to your circumstances. You may not be able to control how people treat you, but you can control how you respond to their treatment. Contentment is learned in the laboratory of life. God works through the daily grind in your life to form you and to fashion you. Don’t miss what God is seeking to do in your life in the midst of your adversity.

Are you learning the secret of being content in any and every situation? What’s the secret? “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13 NIV). Christ Jesus is the curator of contentment!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 24th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Contentment, Peace, Prayer.
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July 23rd, 2011

Finding Peace

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7 (NIV)

Choose to replace your anxious thoughts with intentional prayer. Your focus will shift from the gravity of your circumstances to the enormity of God’s power. You will gain God’s perspective on the obstacles you face and you will be fortified by God’s peace.

The peace of God is not the absence of adversity, but the presence of Divinity. God’s peace transcends understanding in that it is difficult to fathom. How can a believer have such peace in the midst of a raging storm? The peace of God is not subdued by the intensity of your circumstances. God dispenses His peace in proportion to your need. The stronger the waves of resistance you encounter, the greater the allotment of God’s peace you experience.

God’s peace will guard your heart. The enemy knows that if he can rob you of your passion for God in the midst of your adversity, he will have stolen a piece of your heart. The peace of God will guard your heart from the toxic assaults unleashed by the enemy. You have given your heart to Christ and His peace will reign in you.

During seasons of adversity, the enemy seeks to pollute your mind with thoughts of fear, timidity, and doubt. God’s peace will guard your mind. As you replace your thoughts with intentional prayer, the peace of God will shield your mind. Fear will be replaced by faith, timidity will be replaced with courage, and doubt will be replaced with assurance.

How’s your heart? How’s your mind? Are you experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding? Let the peace of God provide relief to your soul.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, Peace, Prayer.
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July 22nd, 2011

Antidote to Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6 (NIV)

Anxiety is the great distraction. All of your emotional energy is diverted to fuel the vast demands anxiety produces. Incessant worry evaporates the tranquil waters of peace and contentment. Instead of living to benefit and bless others, you marshal strength to combat the gravitational pull of self-absorption. During these seasons, the small things of life that would usually not phase you appear as giants. Anxiety has a way of distorting your perspective.

What is the antidote to anxiety? How do you recapture God’s perspective on your circumstances? The first step is to replace your anxious thoughts with intentional prayer. You have the precious gift of unhindered and uninterrupted access to your Heavenly Father through the avenue of prayer. The more specific you are in your prayer life, the more dynamic your experience of God’s peace will be. Be prayerful. Be specific. Be thankful in the midst of your circumstances as you cast your cares upon the Lord.

Consider writing or typing the items in your life right now that are generating anxious thoughts and feelings. Cry out to God in prayer over each item and express your desperation for God’s perspective and God’s provision. God wants you to seek Him and to long for Him. Your abiding relationship with Him is the most important relationship. Draw near to God.

Begin to anticipate God’s response as you specifically present your requests to God in prayer. Watch to see how God brings clarity to your confusion. Take note of the renewed strength God provides to help you navigate the troubled waters. God may eliminate the obstacles or empower you to overcome the obstacles. Either way, you will come to know God by experience!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 22nd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Anxiety, Peace, Prayer.
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