Archive for September, 2013

September 30th, 2013

Releasing the Past

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Don’t allow your past to prevent you from the future God has for you. Everyone has a past. Everybody has pollution at some level in their past. We have made decisions we regret, said hurtful words we regret, and have had impure thoughts. We have caused pain in the lives of others and we have also been the recipient of pain from others. Living in a fallen world becomes evident by looking into the rear-view mirror.

Paul enjoyed the favor of God. While participating with God in the redemptive process, Paul also encountered the trauma of severe persecution. His rear-view mirror included scenes of immense failures and tremendous successes. Paul understood the vital importance of releasing the past and embracing the future.

Memory has power. Satan uses memory to immobilize us. God uses memory to remind us of the depth of His love. God wants to do something great through your life in spite of your past. God factored in your sin before you were even born. God made provision for your sin and your success by allowing Jesus to pay your sin debt in full.

Find a private place of solitude. Take out a notepad and ask God to reveal unconfessed sin in your life. In the quietness of the moment, begin to write down what God reveals to you. Specifically confess each sin by agreeing with God that you have broken His heart and missed the mark. Now receive God’s cleansing for your sin and release the past.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 30th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Focus, Paul.
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September 29th, 2013

Renewing Your Strength

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

The Christian life has an exciting destination, but don’t minimize the value of the journey. You will experience a varying cadence through the seasons of your life on mission with God. There will be times of sowing and times of reaping. You will experience times of planting and times of watering. Sometimes the pace of life will feel like the turbulence of white-water rafting and at other times, the pace will be more tranquil like a duck treading water on a peaceful pond.

Learn to experience God in each unique setting you find yourself in. If your life feels fragmented, then hit the pause button and allow God to re-orient you to His abiding Presence. Stop fretting and seeking to produce more and more. Allow God to refuel you and to refocus you.

God’s will for your life has a certain rhythm. Find your rhythm. How do you best reconnect with God? How do you best revitalize your passion for God and renew your passion for life? Put your hope in the Lord. Trust Him with your life and entrust your worries to Him. He loves you and knows what’s best for your life.

Are you walking, running, or soaring? Life tends to accentuate a different tempo based on the season you are in. Whether you are walking, running, or soaring, remember to anchor your life to the stable and consistent relationship you have in Christ. He is your source of strength. Jesus is the reason for every season of life. Rest in Him and revel in His love.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Renewal, Rest, Trust.
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September 28th, 2013

Be Responsive

“Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD.”2 Kings 22:18-19 (NIV)

At the age of twenty-six, Josiah encountered the reading of the Book of the Law. Though he was a king, Josiah allowed the Word of the Lord to impact his life. Instead of seeking to get God’s Word to conform to his life, Josiah conformed his life to the Word of God.

  • “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Matt. 13:23 (NIV)

Do you read the Bible? When you read the Bible, are you allowing God’s Word to take root in your life? Are you tender towards God and sensitive to what He speaks into your life? Jesus wants us to move from being hearers of the Word only, to being doers of the Word.

Is your heart responsive to God’s Word? How do you respond? Have you allowed God’s Word to affect you emotionally and intellectually? Strive to have a consistent daily intake of God’s Word. A healthy daily discipline is to read four chapters of the Bible each day. In one year, you will have read through the entire Bible.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, September 28th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category God's Word, Josiah, Responsive.
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September 27th, 2013

Seeking God

“In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David.” 2 Chronicles 34:3 (NIV)

What caused Josiah, at the age of sixteen, to begin to seek God? When you look at his family tree, you find that both his father, Amon, and his grandfather, Manasseh, did evil in the eyes of the Lord. It is obvious that Josiah did not receive his spiritual heritage from them. When you look into the life of his great-grandfather, Hezekiah, you find a much different portrait.

  • “Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done.” 2 Chron. 29:1-2 (NIV)

I wonder if Josiah was influenced by the godly life that his great-grandfather, Hezekiah, lived. Another possibility is that Josiah began to seek God when he became a dad, at the age of sixteen, to Jehoahaz. For me personally, when I became a dad my understanding of God’s love and my pursuit of God intensified. There’s something about seeing your own flesh and blood and embracing the awesome responsibility of parenthood that draws you to God. You recognize your dependency upon God.

Regardless of your age or life stage, assess your level of thirst for God? Are you passionately seeking God daily and allowing Him to have full access to your mind, emotions, and will? Is there anything or anyone you desire more than you desire God? I have discovered in my walk with God, whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies.

Make Jesus your top priority. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Let Jesus quench your thirst!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 27th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Priorities, Pursuit, Seeking First.
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September 26th, 2013

Reformation in Action

“Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the LORD, the God of their fathers.” 2 Chronicles 34:33 (NIV)

God used Josiah to bring forth a reformation in Israel. Here are a few of the reformation verbs found in II Kings 22-23 and II Chronicles 34-35: removed, burned, did away with, took, ground it to powder, scattered, tore, desecrated, pulled down, smashed, cut down, covered, defiled, slaughtered, got rid of, purged, cut to pieces, broke to pieces, tore down, and crushed. Josiah was willing to tenaciously follow God’s lead and remove all the detestable idols.

Like his great-grandfather, Hezekiah, Josiah cleansed the nation of idolatry, repaired the temple, restored the worship, and celebrated a great nationwide Passover. Josiah tenaciously renewed the Covenant and reformed the culture.

What is keeping you from reaching your God-given potential? What are you giving your life to? Where does your life give evidence of tenaciously following God’s lead?

God placed you right where you are so that you could be an irresistible influence for God’s glory. God allowed you to wake up this morning so that you could spread the aroma of Christ through your conversation and your conduct. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 2:14-15 NIV).

God did not call you to reflect the environment, but to set the environment. God did not save you so that you would embrace the way of the world. God saved you so that you would tenaciously follow the way of Christ.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Josiah, Reformation.
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September 25th, 2013

Adding Value

“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” 2 Chronicles 34:1-2 (NIV)

Can you imagine an eight-year-old child becoming the President of the United States of America? That’s hard to fathom. Yet, in the sovereignty of God, Josiah became the king of Judah when he was the tender age of eight. God enabled Josiah to reign for thirty-one years.

How does an eight-year-old rule his kingdom? He doesn’t do it by himself. Josiah surrounded himself with people who could help. He willingly brought people around him who could do what he couldn’t and who could exercise gifts that he may not personally have had. Josiah became an effective king by being teachable. Josiah allowed others to speak into his life.

You need four people in your life to help you reach your God-given potential. You need a “Paul” who will mentor you. You need a “Timothy” to invest your life in. You need a “Barnabas” to encourage you and to bring out the best in you. And you need a “Nathan” to speak the truth in love to you.

Are you teachable? Do you allow God to stretch you and mold you and grow you? Are you willing to allow others to get close enough to you in order to learn from them?

Ask God to bring a Paul, a Timothy, a Barnabas, and a Nathan into your life. Be willing to be a Paul, to be a Timothy, to be a Barnabas, and to be a Nathan in someone’s life. Seek to add value to others as you allow the life of Christ to be expressed through you.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Josiah, Mentoring, Teachable.
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September 24th, 2013

Press On

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Life is full of distractions. There are so many tugs on our lives coming from various directions. We daily combat the gravitational pull of the flesh, the world, and the devil. Countless opportunities to disobey God await our attention. Living the Christian life in a fallen world requires us to live on purpose and with intentionality.

Paul consolidated his energy to focus on one thing. He disciplined his life to release the past and to embrace the future God had for him. For Paul, his past was relegated to oblivion. He purposefully let go of the past and invested his life in the future God had ordained for him.

You have to decide how you will live each day. Being engulfed with past failures and past successes can keep you from seizing the life God has for you. Focus on this one thing: release the past and embrace the future God has in front of you. God will empower you to do this one thing. God will enable you to concentrate on His agenda. Tenacity, focus, and persistence are necessary to release the past and to march into your destiny.

God saved you and filled you with His Holy Spirit so that you can live for His global glory. God wants you to experience His daily provision and to encounter His abiding Presence. What is keeping you from letting go of your past? Be forgiven and take possession of the land God is giving you.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Focus, Paul, Persistence.
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September 23rd, 2013

Focus Your Faith

“By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Hebrews 11:11 (NIV)

Is the level of your faith determined by the intensity and severity of your circumstances or by the One in whom you are placing your faith? Abraham and Sarah’s situation was desperate and seemingly impossible. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was ninety years old and barren.

Don’t miss the blessing behind “even though.” Even though Abraham was past age and Sarah was barren, God enabled them to become parents because Abraham considered God faithful. God had already made the promise of blessing Abraham with offspring (Gen. 12:2-3). Abraham believed God!

  • “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” Heb. 11:12 (NIV)
  • “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Ps. 55:22 (NIV)

Instead of focusing on your circumstances, focus on the faithfulness of God. You can bring your burdens to the Lord with openness and transparency. You can bear your soul before the Lord as you navigate the terrain of a fallen world. God formed you and fashioned you for His glory. Your circumstances will not derail the purposes of God from being fulfilled in your life. Trust God to demonstrate His faithfulness to you. Be sensitive to God’s activity today in the midst of your circumstances.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Abraham, Circumstances, Faithfulness of God.
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September 22nd, 2013

Tell the Truth

“‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.‘” Exodus 20:15 (NIV)

The court system of a nation depends on the honesty of its people. Lying misrepresents God, misleads others, & mutilates your testimony. Tell the truth by presenting the truth accurately. Don’t falsify information. “Do not spread false reports” (Exod. 22:1 NIV). Don’t exaggerate information. Don’t withhold information.

  • Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.” Prov. 25:18 NIV
  • “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.” Prov. 14:24 (NIV)
  • “If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.” Lev. 5:1 (NIV)

THINK before your speak. Ask these questions: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? Be a truth bearer by speaking words of integrity and honesty. Reflect the character of Christ by being truthful and telling the truth. Do not misrepresent Christ by stretching the truth. Commit to speak words that are in alignment with the truth of God’s Word. Speak words that feature accuracy, unity, and a sense of community.

The way you speak to others demonstrates how much you value people. When you give false testimony about others, you are demeaning the people Jesus died for. Speak words of life and words of instruction and words of encouragement. Choose to leverage your vocabulary to bring others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Lying, Ten Commandments, Truth.
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September 21st, 2013

Maximize Your Influence

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)

What kind of impact are you making on the lives of others? What are you doing to maximize your influence? Choose to maximize your influence by winning the respect of outsiders. How do you do that? You win the respect of outsiders by leading a quiet life, minding your own business, and working with your hands. Demonstrating a strong work ethic and living a life of personal responsibility elevates your influence.

You can also maximize your influence by sharing with those in need. Being generous towards others releases your influence and emulates the heart of Christ. You are never more like Jesus than when you are giving. God has created you to honor Him and to benefit others. Find a need and meet it. Choose to continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth.

Another way to maximize your influence is by making God’s Word attractive. “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:9-10 NIV). A contemporary application of these two verses is to seek to please your employer and to be respectful towards them and show that you can be fully trusted. By being a model employee, you are making God’s Word attractive.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, September 21st, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Influence, Stewardship, Ten Commandments.
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