Archive for March, 2013

March 31st, 2013

Removing the Stone

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’” Mark 16:1-3 (NIV)

On their way to the tomb, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were troubled by the challenge of removing the massive stone covering the entrance to the tomb. They were perplexed by the apparent dilemma. The question lingered in their minds, “Who will roll the stone away?”

When the women arrived at the tomb, they saw that the stone had been rolled away (Mark 16:4). The very thing that had worried them most was alleviated first. God had rolled the stone away, not to let Jesus out, but to let the women in. God had already provided for their victory. God did for the women that which they could not do for themselves.

Perhaps you are facing a challenge that defies your ability to bring about resolution. Maybe there is an obstacle keeping you from living the victorious Christian life God offers. Who will roll the stone away for you? Your stone may be financial, relational, or vocational. Your stone may be medical, emotional, or familial. Whatever your stone represents, God has the power to roll your stone away.

Have you given your stone to the Lord? In prayer, spend some time releasing your stone of adversity, your stone of worry, or your stone of uncertainty. Receive the comfort God provides. Embrace the resolution God prompts. Trust God’s timing to accomplish His will His way.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 31st, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Easter, Jesus, Resurrection.
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March 30th, 2013

Sympathy in Action

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

Jesus understands your trials from without and your struggles from within.

In our contemporary vernacular: Jesus has been there and done that. Jesus has been tempted in every way, just as we are. He understands our struggles. Jesus endured temptation and chose to honor God throughout the process. Jesus entered the process and completed the process sinless. Our example is Jesus. Our pattern for victory is Jesus.

God never intended for us to live the Christian life outside of His enabling. In and of ourselves, we are insufficient. Our sufficiency is found in Christ. As we abide in Christ and submit to the Spirit’s control in our life, victory results.

  • “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)
  • “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Eph. 5:17-18 (NIV)

Surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Surrender fully to the Spirit’s control in your life. Jesus has been where you are and He knows what you need in order to walk in victory. Jesus demonstrated a life of instant obedience and total surrender. Abandon to His call and allow Him to live His life through you.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 30th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, High Priest, Sympathy.
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March 29th, 2013

Convinced by the Crucifixion

“And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39 (NIV)

What was it about the final hours of Jesus’ life that made an eternal impact on the centurion who approved of the crucifixion of Jesus? What were the features of Jesus’ death that convinced the centurion that Jesus was the Son of God? I wonder how many crucifixions this centurion had witnessed before he even knew Jesus existed. Perhaps the centurion had personally witnessed hundreds or thousands of these executions.

There was something about the way Jesus died that changed everything for this centurion. Maybe the centurion overheard the conversation between Jesus and the thief on the cross who said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”(Luke 23:42 NIV). Jesus responded to the thief, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”(Luke 23:43 NIV). Perhaps the centurion saw the grace of God in action as Jesus put the needs of someone else before His own.

The centurion could have been standing close enough to overhear Jesus say to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to the disciple whom Jesus loved, “Here is your mother”(John 19:26-27 NIV). Maybe the centurion detected the deep love that Jesus had for His mother and the compassion Jesus extended from the cross. In the midst of extreme adversity, Jesus made sure His mother’s needs would be met. Of all the crucifixions the centurion assisted in, perhaps he had never seen such love.

Adversity creates unique opportunities to show the love of Jesus as you serve others. Jesus exemplified servitude in the midst of extreme adversity. Are you watching for opportunities to serve others while you navigate the terrain of adversity?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, March 29th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Cross, Crucifixion.
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March 28th, 2013

Paid in Full

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30 (NIV)

Jesus died so we could live. Our destiny was destruction. Our identity was diluted by sin. Our iniquity was placed upon Jesus (Is. 53:6). Jesus became sin for us so that we could be recipients of His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus bore our sins on the cross. The penalty for our sin was atoned for. Jesus paid our sin debt in full. It is finished!

  • “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pet. 2:24 (NIV)
  • “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2 (NIV)

God took the initiative to communicate His unconditional love (Rom. 5:8). The cross is a visible and tangible demonstration of God’s redeeming love. Jesus died as the sinless atoning sacrifice for you. You can now die to sin and live for righteousness. His physical wounds spiritually heal you.

When God sees you, He views you through the shed blood of Jesus. Your life is now hidden with Christ (Col. 3:3). God’s love is made complete in you. What if you started living in light of that reality? In Christ, you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus demonstrated complete obedience to purchase your salvation.

Take a moment to consider the depth of God’s love. Try to fathom the finality of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. What if everyone you knew came to the recognition of their personal need to place their faith in Jesus alone for salvation?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 28th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Crucifixion, Redemption.
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March 27th, 2013

Encouraged by Faith

“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 Thessalonians 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 (Jas. 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 Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Encouragement, Faith.
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March 26th, 2013

Crucified with Christ

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

Are you dying to live? You can spend your entire life trying to figure out how to really live. Your constant pursuit can be saturated with seeking to discover life. Meanwhile, life happens while you are trying to get a grasp on life.

Paul gives tremendous insight into the life God has for you. In order to live, you must die. The life God has for you is really not your life. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have been crucified with Christ. You have already died to yourself so that Christ can live in you. Don’t miss the parallel. You died so that Christ can live in you and through you. Yet, the life you now live in the body is lived by faith in Jesus, who loved you and gave Himself for you. You are dying to live.

  • “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’” Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

Put your passion in action by allowing Jesus to live His life in and through you. Give Jesus the reins to your life and let Him have His way in you. Surrender to His Lordship and submit to His prompting. Your passion will be evidenced by your obedience.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Crucifixion, Obedience.
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March 25th, 2013

Ultimate Sacrifice

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the high priest would enter the holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of his family and for all the people. One goat would be chosen to be sacrificed for the Lord and one goat would become the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10). The blood from the goat sacrificed as a sin offering would be sprinkled throughout the altar, sanctuary, and tent of meeting to remove defilements of the past year. The high priest would then place his hands on the head of the scapegoat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people to it. The scapegoat, also known as the goat of removal, would be led away from the people into the desert to picture the removal of sins.

Jesus bore our sins on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus took our punishment for sin to satisfy God’s justice. In His mercy, Christ was sacrificed to remove our sins. Our sin debt has been paid in full and our salvation purchased through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus became our scapegoat to take away our sins.

Have you confessed your sins? Have your received God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins? Spend some time thanking Jesus for the removal of your sins.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Forgiveness, Sacrifice.
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March 24th, 2013

God’s Perfect Timing

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV)

God is working. His purpose and plan will be accomplished. Satan cannot thwart God’s will. Even when you experience doubts, delays, and distractions, God is still fulfilling His agenda. God is sovereign. He rules and He reigns. God factors in our sin. God factors in the reality of demonic opposition. God is not surprised by our surprises.

God’s master plan includes you. It is God’s will for you to be saved, to grow spiritually, and to join Him in His redemptive activity. Jesus took on the full wrath of God for your sin so that you could be set free to have a vibrant love relationship with God in Christ. You were filled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of your conversion so that you could continue the ministry of Jesus on this broken planet.

God will complete the good work He began in you. What God starts, He always finishes! God is not through with you. You are still in the process of becoming who God has made you to be. God is molding you and shaping you into the man or woman of God He created you to be.

Will you allow God to continue His work in you so that He can accomplish His work through you? Are you willing to trust God’s timing? God knows where He wants you. God knows what the finished product of His character development in you looks like. God’s timing is perfect. Entrust your life to His care.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 24th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category God's Timing, Prayer, Sovereignty.
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March 23rd, 2013

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 Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Elijah, God's Purpose, Sovereignty.
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March 22nd, 2013

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 Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Encouragement, Potential.
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