Archive for May, 2014

May 31st, 2014

The Importance of Revering God

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV)

Imagine enjoying a cup of coffee with one of the wisest men to ever live, Solomon. That’s right! You are sitting across from Solomon and you ask him to share with you what he has learned after experiencing life in a way that few would ever experience in a lifetime. Solomon pursued wealth, wisdom, and women. At the end of his life, he looks into the review mirror and captures what matters most.

Let me share the first essential to doing life God’s way: Revere God.

Solomon says to “fear God.” In the language of the Old Testament, to fear God means to revere God. It means to hold God in high esteem. We are to place the worth and value on God that He deserves. We are to reverence God for who He is and for what He has done.

Revering God involves giving Him first place in your life. Your ambition is to honor God with your life. His agenda becomes the focus of your life. You revere God by aligning your heart with His heart. Revering God is demonstrated by loving what God loves, and by hating what God hates.

In his book, Walking with God, John Eldredge writes, “I assume that an intimate, conversational walk with God is available, and is meant to be normal.” As you walk with God and revere Him, your love relationship with God will become intimate. Doing life God’s way always produces intimacy with God and brings Him pleasure.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Fearing God, God's Character, Revering God.
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May 30th, 2014

Wisdom From Heaven

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (ESV)

Doing life God’s way involves obtaining and employing heavenly wisdom. What does that kind of wisdom look like? James has already explained the components of earthly wisdom in the previous three verses. We learned that earthly wisdom is characterized by selfishness while heavenly wisdom is characterized by selflessness. Selfishness is an expression of earthly wisdom. Selflessness is an expression of heavenly wisdom. Jesus, of course, is our model to follow.

  • Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Phil. 2:3-4 (ESV)
  • Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil. 2:5-8 (ESV)

Heavenly wisdom becomes a practical expression in your daily living. As you do life God’s way, you will live a life of moral purity. You will be peace-loving, considerate of others, and submissive to God’s agenda. Heavenly wisdom will be evidenced through your lifestyle of mercy and good fruit, being impartial and sincere. What kind of wisdom are you exhibiting through your conversation and your conduct? Will others be drawn to Christ or repelled from Christ?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, May 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Selflessness, Stability, Wisdom.
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May 29th, 2014

The Source of Your Strength

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

God never intended for you to live the Christian life in your own strength. Joining God in His activity requires His divine energy and strength. Navigating the storms of life demands strength you do not have outside of God’s enabling. The Christian life is not a solo flight. God invites you to participate in the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

The Lord will renew your strength as you place your total dependency and confidence in Him. Acknowledge the Lord as the source of your strength. Live expectantly with your eyes focused on the Lord and His mission. Operate with complete assurance that God is who He says He is and that God will do what He says He will do.

As you hope in the Lord, He will renew your strength. As you hope in the Lord, He will cause you to soar like an eagle. As you rely upon the Lord’s provision, He will enable you to run and not grow weary, to walk and not be faint.

Living the Christian life in a fallen world will include seasons of soaring, running, and walking. Your pace will fluctuate and your terrain will vary. The circumstances of life will change from moment to moment. The one constant feature in your life is the Person and Presence of your abiding Savior, Jesus. Anchor your life to the Rock of Ages.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Patience, Strength, Trust.
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May 28th, 2014

Advancing Through Adversity

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4 (ESV)

Whenever you purchase an item that has an “as is” tag on it, you accept the fact that it may be flawed. In other words, the item may not be perfect.

The beauty of salvation is that God accepted us “as is” and brought us into a vibrant love relationship with Himself to move us from “as is” to “what could be” in His hands. Yes! We were marred in His hands. But, He lovingly and patiently removes the imperfections of our attitude, behavior, and speech.

Being on the Potter’s wheel can be painful at times. As God allows us to go through suffering and sorrow in this life, the areas of our life that do not reflect Christ-likeness will be dealt with. God will grow us through the pain. He will mold us and shape us through adversity.

Bathsheba endured some difficult seasons in her life. She experienced loneliness, grief, delays, disappointment, and shattered dreams. Yet, God redeemed all of those seasons in her life to bring her into a deeper relationship with Himself. She would have never become a Proverbs 31 woman without the adversity that God allowed her to face. She was marred in His hands. As a result of the loving touch of the Potter’s hands, she became a masterpiece!

Are you on the Potter’s wheel? Be patient. Allow God to mold you. He took you “as is” and He is shaping you for eternal significance.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, God's Character, Potter's Wheel.
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May 27th, 2014

Useful and Productive

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4:28 (ESV)

You may have disengaged from this verse since you immediately recognized that you are not a thief. You are not stealing. You, in fact, have a strong work ethic and would never dream of stealing. So what is God trying to say to you through this verse?

Look closely at the last phrase. Work. Do something useful and productive so that you can acquire more and attain greater prominence. Do something useful so you can gain momentum in the pursuit of the American dream. Is that right? Is that what God is saying? Not even close!

God wants you to embrace a strong work ethic so that you can be a blessing to others. His desire is for you to work diligently so that you can share with those in need. You ought to get all the education you can so that you can excel and be the best at what God called you to do. Why? Because God deserves your best!

However, it is not about you! It is about positioning yourself in alignment with God’s priorities so that you can be a blessing to others. God does not bless you so that you can funnel the blessings into your self-centered pursuits. God blesses you in order to expand your capacity to bless others.

Do you have anything left to share with those in need? Statistics show that the average American lives on 120% of his or her income. That means we spend more than we make. Maybe it’s time to re-think the American dream.

The life God blesses is the life given to being a blessing to those in need. You are blessed to be a blessing!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Surrender, Usefulness.
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May 26th, 2014

Being Available for God’s Use

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’John 6:8-9 (ESV)

God wants to use you to meet needs. In order to meet needs, you must be sensitive to the needs of others. Living a life of “other-centeredness” is essential to joining God in His personal touch ministry. Selfishness will blind you to the needs around you. Selfishness will steer your focus inward every time.

Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitudes. The number of men was five thousand besides the women and children. Jesus was asking the disciples to feed over fifteen thousand people. All they could find was a little boy with a sack lunch with five loaves of bread and two fish.  ”Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.” (Luke 9:16 ESV). Jesus multiplied what He had been given in order to meet the physical needs of the masses. They all ate and were satisfied!

Where did the twelve basketfuls of leftovers come from? There is a valuable lesson to learn here. Just bring Jesus what you have. Jesus will take what you have and multiply it to meet needs. God will never ask you to do anything without providing everything you need to accomplish His will. Perhaps you know the saying, “Where God guides, He always provides.”

Will you make yourself available for God’s use this week? Will you look for opportunities to meet practical needs? Be sensitive. Be selfless. Be willing to seize the opportunities God gives you. Just bring Jesus what you have!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, May 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Availability, Jesus, Miracle.
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May 25th, 2014

Living to Benefit Others

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15 (ESV)

The sinless Son of God was willing to wash the feet of sinful men. Jesus exemplified the servitude that moves the heart of God. In humility, Jesus chose to live His life to benefit others. He did not come to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28). You can sum up Jesus’ earthly ministry with one word: others!

Our society promotes the self-centered lifestyle. It’s all about me and my happiness and my life and my gratification. The current of our culture slithers into fueling the selfish lifestyle. Embracing the philosophy of self-absorption is both honored and rewarded in our modern day worldliness. Get all you can and can all you get is the motto of the hour. Selfishness saturates the streets of our society.

Jesus came to reverse the curse. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are called to embrace the way of Jesus. Bring honor to God by doing what Jesus did. Orient your life to live to benefit others. Do you have room for others? Does your schedule allow you to place the needs of others before your own? Make adjustments to create space in your life to benefit others.

The ultimate display of living to benefit others took place on the cross of Calvary when Jesus took on the full wrath of God for our sin. Though completely sinless, Jesus became the only acceptable sacrifice to redeem us from our sin. If Jesus was willing to do that for us, what would we be willing to do for Him? Serve Jesus by serving others. Love Jesus by loving others.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, May 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Jesus, Obedience.
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May 24th, 2014

Decending into Greatness

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:3-5 (ESV)

Jesus gave so freely to others. His compassion is without comparison. He caused the lame to walk, the mute to speak, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see. Children were drawn to Him and His love for them was unmatched. Jesus simply loved people.

The public ministry of Jesus was visible, tangible, and contagious. He was an irresistible influence. His love for people also had a private dimension. We are invited into an intimate setting where the evening meal was being served and the disciples surrounded Jesus. Jesus captured this moment to show them the full extent of His love.

Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet. Think about that for a moment. The master chose to serve. Jesus embraced an act of kindness that demonstrated His security and His selfless love. The Son of God chose to serve sinful man. The removal of dirt from their feet was a selfless portrait of love that was a preview of the sacrificial love Jesus would demonstrate upon the cross.

Are you willing to show the full extent of your love for others? Are you willing to express the selfless and sacrificial love of Jesus to others? Maybe God will bring someone to mind for your consideration. Maybe God will bring someone in your path today that needs to know that kind of love. Be ready to release God’s love!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Identity, Jesus.
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May 23rd, 2014

Making Room for God’s Word

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16 (ESV)

Is God’s Word at home in your heart?

Your intake of God’s Word will determine your level of living on mission with God. The primary tool of revelation that God uses for His children is the Bible. God reveals Himself through His Word. You can read the Bible. You can listen to the Bible. You can sit under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

  • Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

Your worship includes the intentional intake of God’s Word. God has appointed and anointed pastors and teachers to communicate His Word in a creative and compelling way. Are you currently sitting under that kind of preaching and teaching? God speaks through human instrumentality. Do you consistently receive a Word from God through the preaching and teaching that you are exposing yourself to?

There are many options out there. Make certain that you are connected to a Bible centered and Christ honoring local fellowship of believers led by a God fearing pastor. Don’t compromise on this one. Be sure to find anointed Bible teachers to help you grow in your understanding and application of God’s Word. Make room in your heart for God’s Word!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Bible, On Mission, Spiritual Disciplines.
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May 22nd, 2014

Ordering Your Life

“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (ESV)

Strive earnestly to live a disciplined life. What does that look like? It looks like a life that is orderly and balanced. It is a life that is disciplined and focused. Allow these words to be absorbed in your spirit: order, balance, discipline, and focus. Lead a quiet life. Mind your own business. Work with your hands. Maximize your potential and do not be dependent on anybody. That is not to say that you don’t need others. You need others, but your dependency is not to be a result of laziness or passive neglect.

What is the goal of a balanced life? Is it to produce personal happiness? Is it to minimize stress? Those are certainly by-products of a balanced life. However, the goal of a balanced life is to be an irresistible influence for Christ in our culture. Your life is to be lived in such a way as to win the respect of outsiders. Those who are outside of the family of God should be able to view your life and be drawn to Christ. Your life should be magnetic and convincing.

Do you lack order, balance, discipline, and focus? Maybe you have too many plates spinning. Maybe it is time to simplify your life. Identify and remove the clutter from your life. Create some space. It may be the most spiritual thing you do this week.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, On Mission, Order.
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