Archive for April, 2014

April 30th, 2014

God’s Compassion

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” Jonah 3:10 (ESV)

God blesses your obedience. God gave Jonah a second chance. In response, Jonah obeyed God and went to the great city of Nineveh and preached against it. God honored the preaching of His Word. The Ninevites believed God and declared a fast. The King repented and issued a proclamation. This domino effect took place because God was willing to give Jonah a second chance and Jonah was willing to obey God.

God not only blessed Jonah’s obedience, but He also rewarded the people’s repentance. God witnessed their change of direction and unleashed His compassion. “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.” (Ps. 116:5 ESV). God responded to the response of the people. Notice how God withheld His wrath. What a tremendous demonstration of God’s compassion!

Trace your past for a few moments. Contemplate the pivotal moments in your life when God unleashed His compassion. Where would you be today had God not lavished you with His grace, mercy, and compassion? Think about the opportunities that God has provided you with over your lifetime in light of His compassion.

God’s forgiveness enables you to join Him in His redemptive activity. Once you have personally experienced God’s compassion, you will be able to extend compassion to others at a deeper level. “’Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’” (Luke 7:47 ESV). Your capacity to love others and to be compassionate towards others will be proportionate to the compassion you have received from God.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, God's Nature.
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April 29th, 2014

Getting a Second Chance

“And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.” Jonah 2:10 (ESV)

Where would you be if God were not the God of second chances? You would be without hope and without a future. God will not only pursue you with His redeeming love, but He also gives you a second chance to obey His will.

The fish obeyed God in the midst of Jonah’s rebellion. God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry ground. Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time (Jonah 3:1).  After a three day aquatic experience of prayer in the belly of the fish, Jonah was now hurled onto the beach for a second chance to obey God’s way. The wonderful news is that Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh (Jonah 3:3).

Jonah responded to God the first time by saying, “Lord, here I am, send someone else!” The second time, Jonah responded by saying, “Lord, here I am, send me!” On the Ship Jonah was singing, “I did it my way!” Inside the Fish Jonah was singing, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!” Jonah came to know God as the God of second chance. Jonah learned a valuable lesson about obeying God.

Ponder the grace of God in your own life. Think through the decisions you have made over your lifetime to choose to go your own way. Do you remember how God pursued you with His redeeming love? God is so patient, so tender, and so persistent. He wants you to come to know Him by experience as the God of second chances.

Don’t give up. God has not given up on you. What God has begun in your life, He will bring to completion (Phil. 1:6). God always finishes what He starts. What God originates He always orchestrates.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Grace, Joining God.
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April 28th, 2014

Praying Through the Seaweed

“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish.” Jonah 2:1 (ESV)

If you spent three days and three nights inside a great fish that God provided, you would probably place that in the category of a life changing experience. Your entire life would be marked by that one experience with God. You would never be the same. Your view of God and your reverence for God would be catapulted to a new level.

  • “The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head.” Jonah 2:5 (ESV)
  • “At the roots of the mountains, I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.” Jonah 2:6 (ESV)

Can you imagine Jonah, with seaweed wrapped around his head, praying to God from inside this large fish that God provided? I wonder if Jonah was kneeling, standing, floating, or treading water while he was praying. It clearly illustrates that God is willing to go to extreme measures to rescue us from ourselves and from our sin.

You don’t have to wait for God to bring you to a place of desperation to call out to Him in prayer. You have the perpetual invitation to nurture your love relationship with God in moment-by-moment prayer and surrender. Remove the seaweed that tends to cling to your mind and embrace the opportunity to commune with the Creator of the universe. Your life changing experience can continue as you faithfully seek God’s face in prayer.

Whether you are in the tumultuous waters within the large fish called life or on the tranquil dry ground of daily life, pray to our Living God. God loves you and His heart beats for you. You are the apple of His eye!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Jonah, Miracle, Prayer.
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April 27th, 2014

Facing Consequences

“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.” Jonah 1:4 (ESV)

God gives you the freedom to choose to obey His will or to reject His will. You can run from God or you can run to God. If you choose to disobey God’s will and embrace your own direction, God will allow you to go your own way. Thankfully, God will pursue you with His redeeming love.

Running from God activates the disciplinary process that can ultimately produce restoration. Running from God generates a natural flow of consequences that God will use to bring you back into fellowship with Himself (Prov. 3:11-12).

Sometimes God will allow pain to come into your life to signal that something is out of balance. C.S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Pain is an effective tool that God may choose to use in order to pursue you.

Jonah was not a storm-chaser, but God used a storm to chase Jonah. Notice the progression of God’s pursuit of Jonah: “God sent a great wind (v.4), a violent storm (v.4b), the sea was getting rougher and rougher (v.11), the sea grew even wilder than before (v.13), and the raging sea (v.15).” Sometimes God has to turn up the volume in your life to get your undivided attention.

How is God pursuing you with His redeeming love? Is there anything out of balance in your life that dishonors God? God loves you and will pursue you to reconcile you and restore you.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, April 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Consequences, Disciple, Jonah.
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April 26th, 2014

Running from God

“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3 (ESV)

Our natural proclivity is to do life our own way. We value independence and we like to make decisions that benefit us personally. Often we bypass God’s way and face the natural consequences of our selfishness.

Instead of running to God, Jonah sought to run from God in order to avoid obeying God’s will. God told Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it. Jonah refused to embrace God’s way and chose to go the opposite direction.

Running from God generates consequences that affect innocent people. Jonah’s disobedience put the sailors on the ship at risk. Their journey was interrupted by the consequences inflicted upon Jonah.

Jonah’s rebellion against God eroded his peace and stifled his fellowship with God. When you choose to run from God, your relationship with God will be negatively impacted. You cannot enjoy peace with God and unbroken fellowship with God while running from God.

Satan will provide the transportation for disobedience. The enemy gladly accommodates your decision to run from God. You are created by God not to be robotic, but to be relational. Thus, you have the freedom to obey God or the freedom to disobey God. You can choose to submit to His will or refuse to obey Him. God will let you go your own way. However, God will pursue you with His redeeming love.

Decide today to follow God’s will. Surrender your life completely to the Lord and keep your “yes” on the altar. God’s way is always the best option!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, April 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Disobedience, Jonah, Running.
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April 25th, 2014

Spiritual Food

“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.” Hebrews 5:11-12 (ESV)

How long have you been a child of God? When did you have your conversion experience? Recount the moment you turned from your sin and confessed Jesus as Lord of your life. Now take a look at your life now compared to then. How much have you grown spiritually since the day of your salvation? What has changed over the years related to your spiritual maturity?

As you grow spiritually, you develop an appetite for the meat of God’s Word. You move from the elementary truths of God’s Word to the deeper things of God. There is a clear process of movement from milk to meat. If you have been a follower of Christ for several years, then your appetite ought to give evidence to the level of your spiritual maturity.

If you are slow to learn, then it is time to examine your level of teachability. When you are teachable, you receive, believe, and apply God’s Word. Your teachability enables you to experience progress in your spiritual journey. Feeding on God’s Word becomes a delight instead of a duty.

What is your level of spiritual maturity? What is keeping you from reaching your God-given potential? God has designed you for physical and spiritual growth.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Discipleship, God's Word, Spiritual Maturity.
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April 24th, 2014

Extending Personal Touch Ministry

“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Acts 2:44-45 (ESV)

The moment you became of follower of Jesus Christ, you received the imputed righteousness of Christ, you received the forgiveness of your sin, and you were adopted into God’s family. In Christ, you became a member of His body.

Your spiritual family helps you through the storms of life. Living in a fallen world can be challenging. Circumstances are not always favorable. Sickness, evil, and tragedy are sprinkled along life’s journey.

The redemptive activity of God was evident within the body of Christ at Pentecost when three thousand were added to their number. This diverse group of new believers had to learn how to do life together. They lived to bring pleasure to God and to be a blessing to each other. Their fellowship was enhanced by their perpetual generosity. With a clear display of unity, the believers sought to meet each other’s needs and to eliminate poverty.

God allows you to experience authentic community with other believers so that you can learn to extend personal touch ministry. God saved you and filled you with His Spirit so that you can continue the ministry of Jesus. Just do what Jesus did. Find a need and meet it. Turn interruptions into opportunities to be a blessing to those God brings into your path.

There are times in your journey of faith when you will need to be on the receiving end of personal touch ministry. You may walk through the valley of the shadow of death and need others to pour into your life. Ask God to expand your capacity to receive ministry. Learn how to extend personal touch ministry and how to receive personal touch ministry.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Church, Ministry, Redemptive Activity.
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April 23rd, 2014

Experiencing Authentic Community

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42 (ESV)

God formed you for fellowship. In the language of the New Testament, the word fellowship means communion, communication, partnership, or intimacy. Just as God called you into salvation, He also calls you into fellowship with Jesus. You are invited to enjoy unbroken fellowship with the Lord.

After the Lord added three thousand to their number, the believers devoted themselves to discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and prayer. Their fellowship with the Lord was demonstrated through their fellowship with each other. They prayed together and participated in the Lord’s Supper together. The believers experienced authentic community.

God’s invitation is rooted in His faithfulness. God is faithful. He is true to His word. You come to know His companionship through an abiding relationship with Christ. Your fellowship with the Lord is enhanced as you enjoy His companionship and embrace His joint partnership in the gospel.

Fellowship with the King of Kings is realized through the avenue of prayer. As a child of God, you have the privilege of enjoying sacred communication with the Creator of the universe. As you pray, your fellowship with Jesus becomes more intimate. Sharing your heart with the Lord in prayer and responding to His voice are vital components to continual fellowship.

Are you enjoying unbroken fellowship with the Lord? Have you created space in your life for the most important relationship initiated by God? You have to make room for fellowship with the Lord. Spend time communing with the Lord in prayer each day. Enjoy doing life with other believers as you experience authentic community.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Authentic Community, Body Life, Fellowship.
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April 22nd, 2014

Filled with the Spirit

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4 (ESV)

God accomplishes the extraordinary through ordinary people just like you. He gives you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Fulfilling God’s purposes requires God’s power. You cannot accomplish God’s will without being filled with His Spirit. He equips you to do His work His way.

The hundred and twenty believers were all filled with the Holy Spirit and communicated the gospel in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Gathered in Jerusalem from diverse cultures for Pentecost, the crowd came together in bewilderment. Each person heard the believers speaking in his own language.

Was the miracle in the speaking or in the hearing? There’s no need to debate that issue. The miracle was that God chose to communicate the gospel to everyone. God broke down the ethnic barriers and removed the obstacles to communication so that everyone could hear the saving news of Jesus in his own heart language.

The Holy Spirit was at work in both the senders and the receivers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The believers were filled with the Spirit to participate in God’s redemptive activity. The Holy Spirit took up permanent residence in each of them to enable them to continue the ministry of the Jesus.

If you are a child of God, you are filled with the Holy Spirit to join God in His redemptive activity. Be sensitive to opportunities God places before you today to make Jesus known. Everyday is Pentecost for the fully devoted follower of Christ. You have the capacity and the responsibility to share God’s redemption story with every unsaved person on the earth.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Holy Spirit, Pentecost, Priesthood of the Believer.
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April 21st, 2014

Unified in Prayer

“‘And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’” Luke 24:49 (ESV)

Just before ascending to heaven, Jesus instructed the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received what His Father had promised. Jesus affirmed that they would be clothed with power from on high. Upon arrival in the Upper Room, the hundred and twenty believers joined constantly together in prayer (Acts 1:14). They were unified in prayer awaiting the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

How long did they have to wait? Ten days! That would be considered a long prayer meeting. Why did Jesus wait ten days to send the Promised Holy Spirit? Perhaps the hundred and twenty believers needed ten days to purge their lives from sin, selfishness, and strained relationships. Maybe the believers had to extend and receive forgiveness. It is possible that the Lord wanted to give them time to adjust their lives to His agenda.

Unified prayer honors the Lord. If you want to see God at work in your life and around you, begin to join other believers in unified prayer. Passionately pursue God in prayer and allow Him to reveal unconfessed sin in your life. Allow God to illuminate the level of your spiritual devotion and the reality of your sensitivity to His activity. Invite God to search your heart and to reveal anything in your life that does not bring Him pleasure.

Praying in unity with other believers moves the heart of God. You will form a special bond with those you pray with and enjoy the fellowship God produces. Make room in your life for unified prayer.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Holy Spirit, Prayer, Unity.
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