December 5, 2019

Welcome to Advent season on Jumpstart! This year, we will be going through an Advent devotion written by Park Community Church in Chicago, Illinois. We encourage you to walk through these devotions with friends and family, so that together we can remain focused on Christ during the craziness of the Christmas season. We pray that this resource greatly blesses you and builds you up in your faith as we dig into the Word together!


Advent is a time we can refresh our amazement in the prophecy and arrival of Jesus the Messiah, growing closer to Him as we proclaim our longing for His coming again. We pray this devotional will challenge and remind you of the hope, joy, preparation, and love that we experience as we anticipate Christ’s birth.

THE FALL


Just over 2,000 years ago, around this time, Mary was about to give birth, filled with anticipation. We all know the story. We’ve dressed our children up as shepherds, glued cotton balls to paper to make sheep, and set out figurines in a nativity. But the story of the birth of Jesus began long before that day, long before Mary was even born. The story of Christmas is written in every page of the Bible. Let’s start at the beginning, the day everything went wrong.

Read Genesis 3:1-7

What three reasons led Eve to eat the fruit?

Read Genesis 2:9


What are the two qualities of every tree in the garden? How does God’s provision in 2:9 make Eve’s reasons in 3:6 even more foolish?

Eve ate the fruit in order to fulfill desires that God had already offered to meet.

What do you think are the core desires behind those tendencies? At the very bottom of your heart—what are your needs you are seeking to have satisfied?

Read Ephesians 2:12-18

There was a time when the world lay in sin and error, pining for love, happiness, security, and joy. No matter how much they consumed the things of the world, they were still hungry. Satisfaction was impossible. Because those cravings can only be satisfied in God and because of sin, there was a dividing wall of hostility between us and God. But at Christmas we celebrate the gift of satisfaction. God sent His Son so that we might have access to Him, the fulfillment of all our desires.

Read 2 Peter 1:3-4

Consider all you have received through the gift of Christ! Now look again at those core desires behind your sin tendencies. How can those hungers be satisfied through the great and precious promises of God?

See the compassion of God in the face of Christ. God has not left you to battle your sin alone. He does not expect you to pick blind obedience over the deepest desires of your life. Instead, He has come in the flesh so that He could win back for you all the things your heart craves in Him. Choose satisfaction in God over going hungry eating at the table of this world.

This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL. 

December 4, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 24

In our closing passage in the book of 2 Samuel, David disobeys God by taking a count of his army. At first glance, this does not seem to be that big of a deal, right? But consider what it is saying about David’s trust in the Lord: instead of trusting God to provide and fight the battles, like he had done countless times before, David wants to take control over the situation and know for himself what type of power he has. Have you ever been in a situation that your sin seemed small but when you really reflected on it, it revealed a lot about your heart?

In verse 10 that David soon recognizes his sin: “But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” David recognizes his sin, but there are still practical consequences because of it. In a seemingly odd interaction, God gives David three options for how his punishment would be handled.

In verse 17, David tries to protect the people of Israel and Judah, wanting to take the punishment on himself instead of allowing them to bear the brunt of it. But because David is a representative of the people, God says no. It gives greater significance to David’s descendant Jesus, who as another representative of his people, is able to take on the punishment of sin and successfully apply it to all who believe and repent. We also see that our sins and our obedience has affects on the people we lead and represent.

How does this passage point you to Christ and the gospel? What has stood out to you throughout the book of 2 Samuel?

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

December 3, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 23

David’s last words are ones of beauty and love towards God. We see how poetic David is, all throughout the Psalms and his last words speak of how the Lord is in control of all things. The main verse to focus on is verse 5. David reminds us that God has made an everlasting covenant with him (2 Sam 7). The covenant says that there will be a king who will come from David’s line and who will reign forever. We know that person to be Jesus. Jesus is the true King and His dominion is an eternal one. 

God has been so gracious to all of us to send His Son, Jesus. His rule and reign is one of justice and holiness. There is no sin or imperfection in Him, and He judges justly. Jesus has already prevailed against His adversary on the day that He rose from the grave. And now we wait for His kingdom to be established forever, which will happen at His second coming. Then, we will enjoy for eternity the promise that was given to David. 

There is one little piece of information that I want to point out, and I almost don’t want to do it, because I love David’s last words and how they point us to Jesus, but I am going to do it anyway. If you look at 23:39, you should see a familiar name: Uriah the Hittite. This was Bathsheba’s husband, who David caused to be killed in battle. Uriah was one of David’s mighty men, which means that David knew what he was doing when he sinned with Bathsheba. It makes the sin of David that much worse, because he deliberately sinned against God and one of his friends. 

I point that out, because God’s grace is on full display. David did not deserve forgiveness, but God gave it to him. That is exactly how we are. We did not deserve to have our sins forgiven by Jesus, but He went and paid the price on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, if we have a relationship with Him. I hope and pray that today and for the rest of your life, you will remember how gracious God is.

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

December 2, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 22

Today’s reading is SO encouraging!  After God commanded Samuel to anoint the boy David as king, Saul began trying to kill him.  David faced a long, lonely time running from the king. This is David’s song to the Lord that he sang the day God rescued him from Saul.  I hope you will find encouragement in it.

David recognized God as:

Protector (v.2-3a) our fortress, Savior, rock – the place where we find protection

Refuge (v.3b) – our shield, place of safety, the One who protects us

Worthy of Praise (v.4) – He is the ONLY One worthy of our praise

Attentive to our cries (v.5-7) – even when we’re overwhelmed by everything around us – we cry out to Him and He hears us

Great and Majestic (v.8-16) – smoke from His nostrils, flames from His mouth, flying on the wings of the wind

Rescuer (v.17-20) – He leads us to a place of safety

Restorer (v.21) – the One who knows our heart and restores us

Rewarder (v.22-28) – He rewards us according to His kindness and mercy

Light (v.29-30) – the Lord lights up my darkness

Trustworthy (v.31-32) – Promise maker and promise keeper

Director of my Ways (v.33-46) – makes me surefooted, directs my path, gave me the victory

Exalted (v.47-51) – The Lord lives! Praise His Name!

Let’s take a moment together today and praise God for these things!  He’s great and worthy of praise and He inhabits the praises of His people.  Find joy in His presence this morning as you start your day.

By: Tim Parsons  — Lead Pastor