Archive for November, 2014

November 30th, 2014

The Bridge Called Death

“‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.’” Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

When I stood behind the pulpit to speak at the funeral of the surgeon who saved my life, it was as though time stood still. He had been our family doctor during my childhood and teenage years. He was a devoted husband, father, and deacon at my home church. Every scar on my body bears his workmanship from stitching up deeps cuts to performing emergency surgery following my Jet Ski accident during my junior year in High School. He was a godly man my family treasured.

There’s something about death that makes us measure the value of life. When someone dear to us dies, we experience the agony of their loss and the joy of their gain. Knowing that we will see them again in heaven brings such comfort. Knowing that they are in the Presence of God beholding the face of Jesus and walking on streets of gold generates the affirmation of our faith.

Jesus shared a parable that helps us understand what the kingdom of heaven is like. When a man found treasure hidden in the field, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all that he had and bought that field. The kingdom of heaven is to be treasured. The kingdom of heaven is worth being treasured.

Your most valued possession is the gift of eternal life that you received at the moment of your conversion. When Jesus became the Lord of your life, you became secure for eternity. You became a kingdom citizen. Death is not a wall to climb, but a bridge to cross. Jesus has made a way for you to face death with certainty and clarity.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, November 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, Death, Heaven.
Interact No Comments
November 29th, 2014

Pray Around the World

“The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.” Psalm 98:2 (ESV)

You may not have the opportunity to travel to every continent on the planet, but you can touch every continent through prayer. Choose to pray strategically by employing a weekly prayer plan for the continents. Pray for Africa on Monday, Asia on Tuesday, Australia and Oceania on Wednesday, and Europe on Thursday. Pray for North America on Friday, South America on Saturday, and then pray for the church you are connected to on Sunday.

Our natural proclivity is to be individualistic in our praying. We get so self-absorbed and self-centered that we bypass the joy and delight of praying for those outside of our sphere of influence. Go global with your prayer life.

  • “’And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’” Acts 4:12 (ESV)
  • “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9 (ESV)

Embrace God’s heart for the nations of the earth. God loves every people group and provides salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus. You can participate in God’s redemptive activity through the powerful avenue of prayer. Pray for the softening of the hearts of the people throughout the earth. Allocate some time each day to pray for one of the continents.

Would you be willing to go on a short-term mission trip to one of the continents that you pray for? God has saved you so that you can invest your life in bringing others to Christ. It all begins with praying for those not connected to Christ. Yes! You can change the world through prayer.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, November 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Global Missions, Intercession, Prayer.
Interact No Comments
November 28th, 2014

Understanding to Know Him

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:19-20 (ESV)

What if the content of your prayers this week were transcribed and put into book form and placed on the end table in a doctor’s office waiting room for others to read? What would your prayer life reveal to others? What would the content of your prayers reveal about your walk with God?

Choose to pray specifically. Instead of articulating generic requests and ambiguous petitions, begin to pray with specificity. For example, begin pray for others to know and enjoy the personal presence of Jesus. Pray for lost people by name. Write their names down and pray specifically for these individuals to become children of God.

If the whole world is under the control of the evil one, then who will rescue the perishing? Who will do spiritual battle in prayer for the lost souls on this planet? Pray evangelistically and be willing to be used of God in the process of bringing others to Christ.

Jesus has given us understanding so that we can know Him personally and make Him known intentionally. Jesus is the true God! There is no other! Jesus is eternal life! Jesus is the hope of the world. Jesus has saved us so that we can continue His ministry on the earth of bringing others into His kingdom. As a kingdom citizen, you have a kingdom assignment. Pray specifically for the salvation of individuals by name. Pray expectantly by making yourself available for God’s use in His redemptive activity.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Prayer, Revelation, Understanding.
Interact No Comments
November 27th, 2014

Expand Your Vision

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9 (ESV)

God loves variety. When you observe His creation, it doesn’t take long to comprehend the variety that God infused into everything He made. God delights to display His glory through the variety of His creation.

People matter to God. Currently, there are just over 11,200 people groups within the over 7.1 billion people on planet earth. Every person in each of the people groups is a unique creation of Almighty God. Every individual has an eternal destiny. God’s desire is for every person to spend eternity with Him in heaven. However, God will not allow sin into heaven. The only cure for the cancer of sin is Jesus. We must bring God’s plan of salvation to every person on this broken planet so that each one will have an opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life.

Pray selflessly. Pray beyond your skin. Begin to pray for those who aren’t just like you. Pray for those who do not have a personal love relationship with Jesus. Pray for those who do not have the same background as yours. Pray for those who do not have the same skin color as yours.

Embrace God’s vision of having a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language standing before the throne in heaven. Pray to become a participant in making God’s vision a reality. You can pray for the salvation of other people groups. You can go on short-term mission trip to engage an unreached people group. You can give so that others can go. Pray for Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, November 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Heaven, Prayer, Variety.
Interact No Comments
November 26th, 2014

Motive Behind Ministry

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Everything matters to God! Everything you say and everything you do and everything you think, matters to God. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Even when others may overlook your contribution, God never misses a moment of your life. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Nothing slips through His comprehensive view.

So whatever you do, whether speaking words that build others up or extending a helping hand, do it all under the authority of Jesus. You are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit to continue the ministry of Jesus upon the earth. Your conversation is vital to fulfilling the Great Commission. Your conduct is of utmost importance in living out the Great Commandment. As you share Christ with others and express His love to others, you will be doing God’s work God’s way.

The motive behind your ministry to others is just as important as the benefits that your ministry produces. What compels you to put others first? What propels you to place the needs of others before your own? Are you motives pure?

Speak and serve as a representative of Jesus Christ. You may be the only Jesus others see in their lifetime. Your conversation will either point people to Christ or repel them from Christ. Your conduct will either give evidence that Jesus is Lord of your life or demonstrate that He is not enthroned.

Be sure to give thanks to God the Father as you serve Him by serving others. May your life be a portrait of gratitude for all that God has done and continues to do in you and through you.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Ministry, Motive, Thankfulness.
Interact No Comments
November 25th, 2014

Feeding on 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? Are you reading and feeding on God’s Word? Your daily intake of God’s Word will help you grow spiritually and develop relationally. God’s Word will help you know the nature and character of God and His plan.

Henry Blackaby shared in a message at the Gideon Convention the following insight: “God is the center of His own activity and He invites us to join Him in His activity.” As you read God’s Word, you come to learn how to detect the activity of God. Constant intake of God’s Word increases your awareness of His activity and heightens your sensitivity to His redemptive activity.

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ps. 119:105 (ESV)
  • “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (ESV)

Do you have room for God’s Word? You must place a high value on spending time in God’s Word. Don’t rush your daily reading. Slow down and meditate on God’s Word. Be discipline to journal what God is saying to you through His Word. Seek to write down specific application steps that you will incorporate in your day. Align your life with God’s Word and embrace His agenda. Make room for God’s Word to take root and to bear fruit through your life and your lips.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Bible, God's Word, Spiritual Disciplines.
Interact No Comments
November 24th, 2014

Called to Peace

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (ESV)

God created us to be relational, not robotic. He designed us for relationship. Sin damaged our relationship with God and He took the initiative to provide for our reconciliation and restoration. In Christ, we have been positioned as righteous before God. Now that our relationship with God has been restored, we are to ensure right relationships with others.

  • “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom. 5:1-2 (ESV)
  • “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14 (ESV)

Our lives have a vertical and horizontal dimension. We are to have a right relationship with God and with others. We cannot have a right relationship with God unless we have a right relationship with others. Also, we cannot have a right relationship with others unless we have a right relationship with God.

Once you have received the peace of God by being justified through faith, seek to live at peace with others. Let others see Jesus in you. Love others the way Jesus loves you.

Gossip is when you say something about someone you would not say to his or her face. Flattery is when you say something to someone’s face that you would not say behind his or her back. Let the peace of Christ find lodging in your heart and be evident in your conversation and your conduct.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Peace, Thankfulness.
Interact No Comments
November 23rd, 2014

Forgiven to Forgive

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 (ESV)

Motion causes friction. Doing life with real people can generate feelings of irritability and agitation. Real people in real life can get on your nerves at times. Our self-absorbed society elevates relational strife. Our proclivity toward selfishness accelerates the relational turmoil.

The Body of Christ is not exempt from relational challenges. Every church family experiences tension, jealousy, and relational drift. We combat the world, the flesh, and the devil. We combat the tendency to turn inward and neglect relationships. Self-preservation prevents us from experiencing the depth of meaningful relationships God has for us.

Perpetual forgiveness and bearing with each other are required for maintaining unity in the Body of Christ. If you have a grievance against someone, release it! If you have been fertilizing a spirit of un-forgiveness, renounce it! Forgive others just as the Lord Jesus has forgiven you.

Don’t forget about the forgiveness you have received in your lifetime. Calculate the grace, mercy, and compassion that Christ has lavished on you. Think about where you would be without His abundant forgiveness. Your sin has been placed as far as the east is from the west. Your sin has been placed in the sea of forgetfulness. You are totally forgiven. You have been set free! Now, choose to forgive others as the Lord has chosen to forgive you. Let others experience your forgiveness in the same degree upon which you have experienced the forgiveness of Christ.

In prayer, visit the scene of the cross. Picture for a moment the Lord Jesus on the cross paying the penalty for your sin. Consider the weight of taking on the full wrath of God for your sin. Jesus did that for you. Would you be willing to extend forgiveness to others in response to the forgiveness Jesus extended to you?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, Sin.
Interact No Comments
November 22nd, 2014

Display Compassion

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:33-34 (ESV)

Hurting people saturate the landscape of life. Living in a fallen world generates pain, suffering, and sorrow. People are shouldering harmful habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Detours and disappointments frequent our daily existence. The reality of living on a broken planet necessitates a deep abiding compassion for others.

The Good Samaritan was willing to see the needs of an unnamed individual and to seize the opportunity to meet his needs. The Good Samaritan was willing to put his compassion in action by getting personally involved in the solution to this wounded man’s unfortunate situation. He had been left for dead.

The Priest and the Levite were too preoccupied with themselves to care about someone else in need. If we are not careful, that can be our tendency. We get so caught up in our own lives and consumed with what we want to accomplish in a given day, that we can neglect those God brings into our path. Busyness and selfishness blur our vision to the reality of pressing needs around us. We might even begin seeing people in need as an interruption rather than an opportunity to display the compassion of Christ.

What is keeping you from putting your compassion in action? Have you lost your love for people? Has your heart become numb toward the individuals in need who come across your path? Slow down and allow the compassion of Christ to flow through you to a world in need. Continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth. View others as sheep without a shepherd. You are the shepherd! Go help some sheep!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Initiative, Ministry.
Interact No Comments
November 21st, 2014

Spiritual Wardrobe

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (ESV)

What are you displaying for a watching world to see? You are chosen, holy, and dearly loved by God. Display the garments you have been given in Christ. As a child of the Living God, you have a spiritual wardrobe that must be put on each day. God places you in the display window of life to give evidence of the reality of Jesus living His life through you.

Are you exhibiting the character of Christ? Put on the garment of compassion. Let others see your compassion in action. Put on the garment of kindness. Be gracious and kind toward others by placing their needs before your own. Put on the garment of humility. Don’t think less of yourself; just think of yourself less. Consider others better than yourself (Phil. 2:3). Be sure to put on the garment of gentleness. Show the tenderness of Christ as you interact with others today. Are you a patient person? Put on the garment of patience and trust God’s timing.

Who you are in Christ on the inside needs to be evident on the outside. As you build meaningful relationships with others, demonstrate the character of Christ. As you navigate the difficult places in life, exhibit the character of Christ. God will use the tests you face in life to help build your testimony. When you are squeezed by the circumstances of life, what is on the inside of you will come out. Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Let these garments become the fabric of your life.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Chosen, Compassion, Humility.
Interact No Comments