Archive for June, 2014

June 30th, 2014

I’m Not Ashamed

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26 (ESV)

Believer’s baptism by immersion is a public proclamation of your faith in Jesus. Jesus identified with you through baptism so that you could identify with Him through baptism. Your identification with Christ is a bold and courageous act of obedience. If you have not identified with Christ through baptism, what is keeping you from taking that clear step of obedience? What would you be ashamed of? There’s nothing to fear!

  • “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16 (ESV)
  • “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 Tim. 2:15 (ESV)

There’s no need to be ashamed. When you identify with Christ through baptism, you demonstrate your faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. In baptism, you testify of His resurrection power that brought you out of darkness into the kingdom of light. You can bear the name of Christ with honor. He has given His all for you so that you can have an abiding love relationship with Him that is personal and eternal.

Don’t be ashamed of Christ. If you have not been baptized by immersion since your conversion experience, then make things right with the Lord by obeying His command.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, June 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Baptism, Identification, Obedience.
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June 29th, 2014

Affirmation In Baptism

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” Luke 3:21-22 (ESV)

Jesus was about thirty years old when He began his ministry (Luke 3:23). The inauguration of Jesus’ public ministry featured affirmation from His Heavenly Father. God affirmed that Jesus was His Son. It would be similar to an earthly Father saying to his son, “Son, I’m proud of you!”

God provided Jesus with an affirmation of His love. Jesus would draw on the love of His Heavenly Father as He navigated the path of suffering. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus affirmed His love and loyalty to His Heavenly Father by praying, “Not my will, but Your will be done” (Matt. 26:39-44).

Jesus heard the precious words of affirmation, “with you I am well pleased.” Jesus brought pleasure to His Heavenly Father through His obedience and willingness to finish His work (John 4:34). God affirmed Jesus with these words at the inauguration of His public ministry.

You are loved by God. In fact, you are the apple of His eye (Ps. 17:8). Walk in the light of God’s redemptive work in your life. God came to your rescue so that you could join Him in rescuing others. You are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10). Be affirmed by God!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Baptism, Identification, Jesus.
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June 28th, 2014

Obedience In Baptism

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” Luke 3:21-22 (ESV)

Did you notice the activity of the Trinity in this passage? Read it again and see if you can locate God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, but the doctrine of the Trinity can be easily located. At Jesus’ baptism, we read about the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove. We read about the voice of God from heaven affirming Jesus at His baptism.

  • “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.” Deut. 19:15 (ESV)
  • “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Heb. 10:28 (ESV)

The testimony of God and the testimony of the Holy Spirit gave witness to the Lordship of Christ at the inauguration of His public ministry. Jesus was baptized to identify with those He came to seek and to save (Luke 19:10). Jesus brought glory to His Father by His obedience in baptism.

God created you for His glory. Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death to provide you with life abundant (John 10:10) and life eternal (1 John 5:11,13). You have been given the Holy Spirit as a deposit (2 Cor. 5:5 & Eph. 1:14). You are saved, sealed, and secure.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Baptism, Jesus, Obedience.
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June 27th, 2014

Jesus Was Baptized

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened.” Luke 3:21 (ESV)

Jesus was baptized, too? Why was it necessary for Jesus to be baptized? I thought He was sinless. What would Jesus need to repent of? The Bible affirms His sinlessness.

  • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4:15 (ESV)
  • “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” I Pet. 1:18-19 (ESV)

Jesus did not allow John to baptize Him as an act of repentance. Jesus had no sin to repent of. So why did Jesus participate in this public baptism? Jesus set an example for us to follow. Jesus modeled the value of honoring God. The baptism of Jesus established the clear portrait of turning from sin and turning to Christ alone for salvation.

Just as my wedding ring does not make me married; it lets others know that I am married. So it is with baptism in that baptism does not save you; it lets others know that you have been saved. Your baptism by immersion is a public display of the internal reality of your salvation experience. The reality of your covenant relationship with Christ is demonstrated through your act of obedience in following Jesus in believer’s baptism. Your baptism is the public profession of your faith in Jesus.

Have you been baptized, too?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Baptism, Jesus, Obedience.
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June 26th, 2014

Shaped By His Hand

When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away. Luke 4:28-30 (ESV)

Jesus communicated to His hearers in the synagogue that a prophet is not accepted in his hometown. He was implying that many would miss the fact that He was the Messiah and forfeit the benefits just as many in Israel did not enjoy the benefits of the ministry of Elijah. The people were so furious with Jesus that they tried to throw him down the cliff. Jesus’ popularity in His hometown was not very positive!

Your identity is not based on what people say about you. Your identity in Christ is based on what God says about you. You are shaped by God’s hand. Your destiny is determined by the loving provision of your Heavenly Father. In the midst of opposition and being misunderstood, you can stand firm in the security of your identity in Christ.

  • “‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.’” John 15:16 (ESV)
  • “‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.’” John 15:18 (ESV)

Find a place of solitude and begin to eliminate the voices of falsehood and tune in to the voice of Truth! Speaker and author, Beth Moore, likes to say, “God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. God’s Word is alive and active in me. I’m believing God!”

Now listen for God’s voice and allow Him to affirm your identity in Christ. Remember who you are in Christ!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Identity, Jesus, Security.
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June 25th, 2014

Clarifying Your Identity

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked.Luke 4:22 (ESV)

Jesus shared from Isaiah 61:1-2 in the hearing of those in the synagogue and identified Himself as the fulfillment of that prophecy. The people spoke well of Him. Amazed at Jesus’ gracious words, they tried to reconcile His professed identity by asking, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

The people were confused. Their understanding of the coming Messiah did not position them to anticipate a carpenter’s son from Nazareth as the Messiah. The humanity and humility of Jesus did not line up with their view of the Messiah. They were expecting a mighty military leader with position and prominence who would restore Israel.

As followers of Christ, we can identify with His dual identity. Though virgin born, Jesus had an earthly father and a Heavenly Father. We too have an earthly father and our Heavenly Father.

  • They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.Heb. 12:10 (ESV)
  • See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.1 John 3:1 (ESV)

Your identity in Christ is formed and fashioned by your Heavenly Father. God has created you for His glory. You are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10) and you belong to God (I Pet. 2:9). If you ever forget who you are in Christ, look up! You are a child of the King!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Will, Identity, Jesus.
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June 24th, 2014

Placing Value on Participation

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read.Luke 4:16 (ESV)

You make room for what you value. When you value participating in the ministry of your local church, you will make room in your life for that ministry. If you value short-term mission trips, then you will make room in your annual calendar of events to go on a short-term mission trip. Whatever you value will receive your time, energy, and attention. Whatever you value will be a guarded priority in your life.

Jesus valued the weekly worship experience in the synagogue on the Sabbath (Saturday). The synagogue had been a consistent part of His life for thirty years at this particular point. After His baptism and 40 days of temptation in the desert, Jesus returned to Galilee and went to His hometown of Nazareth. As was His custom, He went into the synagogue.

Much of Jesus’ identity was connected to the synagogue. He had grown up being exposed to the reading of Scripture each Sabbath in the local synagogue. On this day, He stood to read. He participated in the flow of the service and contributed to the experience.

You are the sum total of your habits. In other words, you will become what you habitually invest your life in. You are in the process of becoming who you are in Christ. Value weekly participation in the local church. Value connecting with God in worship with other believers. Value weekly interaction with other believers in a small group Bible study. Make it your custom to grow in your love relationship with Jesus. Your identity is found in Christ.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Stewardship, Worship.
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June 23rd, 2014

The Rhythm of God’s Love

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:3 (ESV)

What is your life song? Has God put a new song in your mouth? As children of God, we have the life transforming message of Jesus. If the blood of Jesus has redeemed you, then you have a song to sing. It does not matter how musically inclined you are. What matters is that you have a song to sing! Your life in Christ is a song that others will observe.

Will others see and revere Jesus because of your life song? Will others place their trust in Jesus as a result of the song that your life sings? God has given us the wonderful and awesome privilege to be the tangible portrait of His grace on this planet. The conversations and interactions that you engage in on a daily basis are chords that vibrate the rhythm of God’s love.

When you study the life of Jesus you will notice that Jesus maximized the opportunities presented to Him each day. Jesus lived a life that radiated the love of God. People were drawn to Jesus because His life song declared the magnitude of God’s abundant grace and mercy.

Maybe you are in a season currently that has inhibited the song in your mouth. Maybe you have not had a song to sing due to hurt, anger, or disappointment. Ask God to renew your mind and to renew your strength. Ask God to put a new song in your mouth to help you persevere and experience a breakthrough. God knows right where you are and exactly what you need.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Love, Sing, Testify.
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June 22nd, 2014

Worthy of Trust

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.Psalm 20:7 (ESV)

This verse became dear to my heart when I was pastoring my seminary church in 1992. My wife, Tonya, and I went through the Experiencing God study along with our deacons and their wives. My journey of faith has been enhanced by the concept of trusting in the name of the Lord our God.

Trust is a fragile item in the life of a believer. Trust is like the petal of a rose. Trust can beautify a difficult path and create an aroma pleasing to Christ. Trust can also wilt when betrayed. Like a gem in the hand of a jeweler, trust in God can lead to an irresistible life in which God’s glory radiates.

What do you trust in? In our society draped with affluence, it is so easy to trust in materialism. If we can only acquire one more object of our affection or jump into one more activity that produces an adrenaline rush, then we will be fulfilled…so we think. The things of this world just don’t deliver what they promise.

The chariots of our culture and the horses of our entertainment are not trustworthy. Only God can deliver on the magnitude of His promises. God always lives up to the level of His nature and character of perfection. There is no lack! There is no discrepancy! God is all sufficient and more than enough!

Trust God with your life. He knows your fears and your future. His timing is perfect.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, God's Nature, Trust.
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June 21st, 2014

The Haven of Humility

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (ESV)

The highway of happiness is paved with humility. Happiness and humility go together. Jesus modeled a life of humility by submitting to the Father’s agenda and by living to benefit others. In humility, Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross to provide for the forgiveness of our sins and to reconcile us back to God.

What is meant by poor in spirit? It means a complete absence of pride, a complete absence of self-assurance and self-reliance. It means a consciousness that we are nothing in the presence of God. To be poor in spirit is the tremendous awareness of our utter nothingness as we come face to face with God.

Discover the haven of humility. Admit that you don’t have it all together. Admit that you haven’t arrived. Recognize that you haven’t learned all that God wants you to learn and you haven’t completed everything God wants you to do. Make an accurate assessment of yourself before a holy God in light of His holiness.

  • For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Rom. 12:3 (ESV)
  • Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Col. 3:12 (ESV)

Give up your kingdom so you can inherit God’s kingdom! Clothe yourself with humility. Being poor in spirit is a mark of spiritual maturity as you acknowledge your utter dependency upon God and His grace to help you live as a citizen of His kingdom. You cannot live the life God has for you without His supernatural enablement. His power comes to you through the doorway of humility.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 21st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Happiness, Humility.
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