Archive for April, 2013

April 30th, 2013

The Last Days

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” 2 Peter 3:3 (NIV)

We are living in the last days. Don’t be surprised by the turbulence of the times. Those who laugh at the things of God and dismiss the activity of God will continue to increase in number. Scoffers will litter the landscape of this life as we get closer to the coming of Christ. Wickedness will increase and love will deteriorate (Matt. 24:12). The fleshly desires of the unsaved will be fertilized and fed.

Understand your current reality. Where do you fit in the flow of end time events? Are you on the winning team? Have you received God’s offer of salvation in Jesus and turned your life over to Him? If you are in Christ, you are secure for eternity. However, you must be cognizant of the features of the end times. Sin will parade the property on this fallen planet. The scoffers will obey the cravings of their sin nature. Their behavior will reflect their disregard for plan of God.

Be alert to the presence of sin. Be mindful of the pervasiveness of sinful conduct. Satan realizes that his time is short, so he will spare no time to unleash his assault. As the deceiver, the enemy specializes in convincing scoffers to unleash their personal rebellion against God and God’s family. If there were ever a time to get right with God, the time is now!

Crucify your flesh and seek to please God with your life and your lips. Make sure that the tongue in your mouth lines up with the tongue in your shoe. Live with integrity as you surrender to the full control of the Holy Spirit in your life. Confess sin. Live above reproach. Stay close and clean.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category End Times, Faithfulness, God's Plan.
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April 29th, 2013

Master Conductor

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 (NIV)

Has your life ever become complicated and messy? Have you traveled down a road you never thought you would navigate? Living in a fallen world tends to cause us to experience unexpected turns in life. Sometimes we make poor choices and sometimes the decisions of others negatively affect us. It could be that a relationship has diverted into unhealthy patterns or personal behaviors have drifted away from God’s best.

The good news is that God is sovereign. He rules and He reigns. He always has the final say in any and every situation. Even when you make a disastrous move, God can orchestrate your path for your good and His glory. Notice how our Bible verse says that God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. He is God! There is nothing that is impossible with Him. He can handle your situation. He can handle your relationships.

God orchestrates everything we encounter to bring about His will. Right now your current challenge may seem like an uphill climb dragging two dead elephants. God can take any difficult situation and orchestrate the details to conform to His plan.

Are you willing to surrender your hurts, your frustrations, your disappointments, and your fears to God? Release them and entrust them to God’s sovereign care. He is the master conductor in the orchestra called life.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 29th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Conformity, God's Purpose, Sovereignty.
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April 28th, 2013

Resurrection Power

“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33 (NIV)

How is resurrection power evidenced in your life? The apostles demonstrated resurrection power as they testified of the bodily resurrection of the Lord. They combated immense opposition to share the gospel. They were willing to risk everything for the sake of witnessing to the reality of the resurrected Lord. As they gave witness of the Lord’s resurrection, the grace of God was upon them.

Could it be that God reserves His resurrection power for the most important task? Is it possible that God unleashes His resurrection power when you join Him in His redemptive activity? When you testify of His redeeming love, God releases His power in you to accomplish His task of spreading the fragrance of Christ. When you enter the spiritual battlefield for the souls of men, women, boys, and girls, God empowers you for the mission.

Are you attempting anything that requires resurrection power? Are you living on mission with God to the extent that you are desperate for His divine enabling? God has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). As you share the gospel, remember that it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).

There’s no need to be ashamed. Operate in the resurrection power God provides. Allow God to take you places you have never been in your love relationship with Him. Trust God to give you the boldness and the courage to confront the culture and to present the wonderful saving news of Jesus.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Power, Resurrection, Witnessing.
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April 27th, 2013

Belief and Relief

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26 (NIV)

Belief brings ultimate relief. Believing in Jesus brings the ultimate relief of knowing that you will never die. In Christ, you will never experience the sting of death (1 Cor. 15:55-57). Those who choose to live and believe in Jesus will never die. For the Child of God, death is not a wall to climb, but rather an open door to enter. Jesus has built the bridge to transfer a believer from life on earth to life in heaven.

Martha was troubled by the death of her brother, Lazarus. She did not understand why Jesus delayed in coming to the rescue. Jesus comforted Martha and affirmed that He was the resurrection and the life. Martha placed her faith in Jesus (John 11:27). Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave and he came out wrapped in grave clothes. Jesus commanded that his grave clothes be removed. Lazarus experienced Jesus as the resurrection and the life. Martha witnessed the miracle of resurrection.

As a child of God, you are armed with the powerful message of eternal hope and security. You can personally deliver the good news that whoever confesses Christ will never die. You can participate with God in His redemptive activity by sharing the saving news of Jesus with the lost. Heaven and eternal life are fixtures in the life of every believer.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, April 27th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Belief, I am sayings, Jesus.
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April 26th, 2013

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.’” Daniel 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 Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Persecution, Shadrach.
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April 25th, 2013

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 Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, Suffering, Witness.
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April 24th, 2013

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 entering my forties. 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 Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Prayer, Rest, Sabbath.
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April 23rd, 2013

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 Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Conformity, Romans.
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April 22nd, 2013

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” (Eph. 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 Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Conformity, Romans.
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April 21st, 2013

Dispensers of Encouragement

“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)

Everybody needs encouragement. Living in a fallen world can be brutal and depressing. You can get down on yourself so quickly. What a blessing to have someone come alongside you to bring out the best in you! How refreshing when God brings someone into your path to encourage you!

God empowers you by His Holy Spirit to extend the ministry of encouragement. You can be an encourager by identifying the activity of God in a person’s life. As you walk with others in their journey of faith, encourage them by sharing specific items you see in their life that adds value to the kingdom of God.

Think of the people God has brought into your life along the way to encourage you in your walk with God. Aren’t you thankful that God cared enough about you to splash Living Water in your life through the encouragement of others?

Barnabas existed to bring glory to God by encouraging others to reach their full redemptive potential. His most pronounced assignment was that of encouraging the Apostle Paul in his journey of faith. Paul’s reputation of being a persecutor of the church prior to his conversion did not give him much favor with the people of God. Barnabas was willing to risk major ridicule and rejection in order to stand in the gap for Paul. It’s our turn now! Let’s be dispensers of encouragement!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, April 21st, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Barnabas, Encouragement, Ministry.
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