May 20, 2019

Today you should read: 3 John

After his initial introductory encouragement in verses 1–4, John speaks into the difficult situation that the recipient, Gaius, has found his church. John encourages Gaius in his support of traveling brothers and sisters in Christ. However, there is another leader in the church, Diotrephes, who not only refuses to support them, he kicks out of the church anybody who does.

3 John is very short and addressing some very specific circumstances. This is first century, early church correspondence. However, there are several principles that apply to us all.

First, in verse 4, John rejoices “to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” How often do you celebrate obedience? We treat faithfulness and steadfastness as the status quo for believers and only remark when issues arise. What would it look like for you to celebrate those who are walking in truth—those who serve at your church, those who spent time with the Lord every day for a week, those who prayed for the salvation of those in their lives?

Secondly, how do you treat those who carry the message of the Gospel to others? John calls the effort of Gaius and others “a faithful thing” (5), and “you will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God” (6). CPC is big on missions. We love missions and missionaries. As a group, our church gets asked by many to support them as they go, and many of you respond with overwhelming generosity. Thank you. Others, however, don’t respond quite as well. How you support “people like these” (8) is between you and the Lord, however, as a former CRU staff member I will say that not everyone in church treats support raisers well. Your church works to support missions locally, regionally, and internationally—what would it look like for you to do this in your home? Even if you can’t support financially, don’t ignore those who ask to meet with you about the mission God has laid on their heart (nothing hurts as bad as being shunned by those in your church through silence). If you can’t give, you can pray. If you have a theological disagreement or some reason you don’t want to support them, be respectful and honest.

Thirdly, don’t put yourself first, but do good and protect your testimony. Notice the contrast between Diotrephes (9–10) and Demetrius (12). The transition between the two examples is verse 11, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” Your goodness doesn’t save you, but it shows the world your salvation. And, when you open your mouth to proclaim the Gospel, your witness remains unhindered.

In the comments, share what stuck out to you from today. What is God teaching you and what are you going to do about it?

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate


May 18, 2019

Today you should read: 2 John

2 John is often a book that does not get much attention in the Bible, but there are beautiful truths within it. To give a little background, John is an older man at this point in his life. That is why he uses phrases like “children”. In the passage, you will notice he is talking to a “lady”. This “lady” is more than likely a church that he is addressing.

Two things to notice: First, John loves this church and wants them to follow God. He shows that he loves them and so do other believers “because of the truth that abides in us” (v. 1-2). Then, he commands them to walk in the commandments that they know (v. 4-6). Secondly, John wants them to be careful of who’s teaching they follow. He does not want them to go astray.

What I love about 2 John is that we can see the heart of a pastor. No matter what church you go to, or where you are living, you need to find a pastor who loves and cares for you and teaches the truth. My prayer is that you have found that at CPC. As one of the staff members, I promise that we pray for you and will be there for you if you need something.

So my question for you is how can we pray for you?

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

May 17, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 5:13-21

Today’s Jumpstart text includes the CPC Prepare to Share memory verse we use to confirm the eternal security of Christians, 1 John 5:13.

Despite what this passage says, many seem to still not know, 100% for sure, if they are truly saved or will stay saved as a Christian.

Why is this a problem?

  • False Assurance– Jesus mentioned this in Matthew 7. He said there are people who believe they are Christians that are not and they will stand before God and be surprised when they cannot enter into heaven. There are so many people that believe they are a Christian or will go to heaven because they were baptized, because they grew up in church or with Christian parents because they live in the western world instead of the Middle East because they repeated a prayer, etc.


  • Doubts when Receiving- There are some who genuinely received Christ but struggle with doubts about that salvation (whether it’s because of sin, a church culture that constantly questions your salvation, personality or maybe even God? And they may struggle with it the rest of their life.
  • Repetitive Sin– There is a pattern of repetitive sin in a person’s life that causes them to question whether they are truly a Christian. Lack of fruit because there is so much sin, horrible witness, very inconsistent lifestyle.
  • Theological– Some have grown up in a culture or maybe even studied the Scriptures and have come to the conclusion that you can lose your salvation. Denominations: (generally speaking) Assembly of God & most Pentecostal denominations believe this, Lutherans & Methodists are a mixed bag… Anglicans, Episcopal, Baptists & Presbyterians teach Eternal Security.
  • Shorthanded Communication of the Gospel– Some did not hear an accurate presentation of the Gospel and a proper invitation to receive Christ. I’m not going to go too hard on this because I know sharing the Gospel can be tough and I know most preachers have the right motives… BUT… Repeating a prayer does not save a person.


A 2011 Barna study shows that nearly HALF of all adults in America have prayed such a prayer, and subsequently believe they are going to heaven, though a little less then half of them attend a church, read the Bible personally, have lifestyles that differ in any significant way from those outside the church.

How many times were kids, teens, and even adults told to go to heaven, to be saved and sealed where God will never leave you or forsake you… all you have to do is repeat this prayer. And I’m not saying people don’t get saved by repeating a prayer. That heart change does happen but there are a lot of people who have no idea what they’re doing or don’t really mean it and that will happen no matter what at times but sometimes it’s because Christians aren’t clear about repentance and faith.

In fact J.D. Graeer in his book on this “I have begun to wonder if both problems, needless doubting and false assurance, are exacerbated by the clichéd ways in which we (as evangelicals) speak about the Gospel. Evangelical shorthand for the Gospel is to “ask Jesus into your heart” or “accept Jesus as Lord and Savior” or “Give your heart to Jesus.” These phrases may not be wrong in themselves, but the Bible never tells us, specifically, to seek salvation in those ways. The Biblical summation of a saving response toward Christ is “repentance” and “belief/faith” in the Gospel.

You can ask Jesus into your heart without repenting and believing. You can also ask Jesus into your heart while repenting and believing, not saying those words in the prayer. Why? Because it’s a posture of your heart. Repentance and faith is a posture you take toward the finished work of Christ. That can and many times does happen in prayer but don’t make the mistake of equating that prayer with the posture of the heart. It’s why we see that prayer is not magic and it’s why we don’t overemphasize those phrases. Pastor Tim often says say it in your own words… Praying the sinner’s prayer has become something like a protestant ritual we have people go through to go to heaven and that’s leaving many falsely assured or with doubts.

But listen, God really does want us to KNOW!

So how do you KNOW? We see in verses 18-20 these four things:

  1. The Fruit we Bear
  2. A Pattern of Repentance for Sin:
  3. Seal of the Holy Spirit
  4. A Dependence on Jesus ALONE

Remember, Jesus + Nothing = Everything (but also) Jesus + Nothing = Assurance

Assurance is impossible unless you believe salvation is through faith alone.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

May 16, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 5:1-12

As we teach our children about obedience, we try hard to keep it within a biblical framework. The other day I asked Josie, “Who gets to decided what’s right and wrong.” Her response was, “My heart.” That answer was clever, insightful, and most people would agree. However, it’s wrong and I told her that the Bible says, “Our hearts are deceitful and wicked (see Jeremiah 17:9).” Her next guess was “Daddy,” and I said that although she was getting warmer, that’s not quite right either. Finally, she said that “God” gets to decide right and wrong. I said, “Bingo.”

God is our heavenly Father who simply wants the best for his children. As a father of two, I have been somewhat surprised how much I want my girls to love one another. They’re both my children and I love them. I want them to share my love for each of them between themselves. Not only that, I want them to obey me because I want their absolute best, which does not always align with their wants. In the same way, God wants our obedience because He wants the best for us—not because he’s trying to ruin our fun. Likewise, we should love one another because He loves us, and we ought to love what God loves.

Verses 2 and 3 make this point, obedience enables believers to love God’s children, and loving God’s children is obedience.  Obedience to God’s commandments are not “burdensome” (3). Rather, as children of God by faith in Jesus (5) we overcome the world (4).

Verses 6–12 might seem a little odd after reading verses 1–5. John starts talking about “water” and “blood” and how they, along with the “Spirit,” “testify” and “agree.” A discerning reader can see that these are terms used by the author in a very specific way, but on a casual read, something is missing. In these verses, John is attacking the false teachers.

Not long after the close of the New Testament, church history witnessed the rise of a heretical movement called Gnosticism. 1 John assaults the earliest teaching of gnostic ideas (as well as some other heretical movements). In fact, this passage alone addresses several heretical ideas that the Church had to squash. For example, one of the main tenants of Gnosticism is that spiritual things are good and physical things are bad. Gnostics could agree regarding the “Spirit’s” testimony, but they would cringe at the idea of “water and blood.” God created the physical world, and it is in the physical things that we remember the Creator. “Water and blood” most likely refer to Jesus’ baptism and death on the cross—the bookends of his public ministry. Both things are remembered, symbolized, and practiced by every generation of the Church through water baptism and communion. Gnostics could never accept physical elements pointing to spiritual realities.

Additionally, false teachers of every generation have denied either Jesus’ godness or manhood—they denied in some way the Church teaching that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man co-equal and eternal. John puts it in simplest terms, “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” If Jesus isn’t 100% God and 100% man, then his sacrifice could not be 100% effective for humanity—something else must be done. But that’s the beauty of the truth, we contribute nothing to our salvation other than a willingness to receive it. There is nothing to do, know, or earn despite what the false teachers said and continue to say.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate