March 4, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 19:1-18

We have all at one time or another ran from hard things in our life. Often times it is something at work that is difficult. Maybe you get a new job, or it is that college class that is just too hard, so you quit. Or maybe it is just a hard conversation that you need to have with a friend or a family member, and you are not sure how it will go over. Whatever it is we have all ran from something at some time. Elijah’s “hard thing” was Jezebel was going to kill him. So he takes off, as I am sure many would do.

He ends up hiding out in a cave where the Lord appears to him. Elijah tells his problems and informs God that he just wants his life to be over because he can’t do it. Then God does something incredible. He reminds Elijah that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished by His power. The passage talks about the earth shaking and the wind blowing and fire being all around; basically an unreal crazy storm and yet God was in none of that. Those things where basically what happens when He is coming. And in the midst of it all He whispers to Elijah. So Elijah comes out and God informs him of the plan that He has.

Often times we think that we cannot get through what is in front of us and we completely forget that we belong to a God who loves us and has a plan for us. We can attack any hard thing, any challenge, and any circumstance head on because we have hope in a Holy God that will not forsake us.

What are you running from today?

Is it time for you to start attacking instead of avoiding it?

Do you truly trust and know that God will be there through it all?

Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate

March 3, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 18:1-46

This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible!  A few years ago, I had the privilege to go to Israel and to stand on Mount Carmel where all of this went down.

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All of us are familiar with this story, so I won’t rehash it, but what can we learn from it and the one to follow in verses 41-46?  God wants to do GOD SIZED things in our lives.

What GOD SIZED miracle do you need in your life today?  God to heal an illness?  He can!  Restore a marriage or repair a friendship?  He’s able.  To bring home a prodigal or bring life back into your spirit?  He’s fully capable.

Believe God Can

What Elijah proposed was impossible (humanly speaking)—really it was insane.  But Elijah believed that his God could do it.  He knew that it would prove once and for all who was the REAL God. (v.21).  What limits do you put on God (if only in your mind)?

Believe God Will

This is where push comes to shove.  Do you believe God will act?  Elijah put his life on the line and the reputation of Jehovah.  He fully believed God would do what He promised.  Just like Abraham who offered his special son believing that God will just raise him back up to life again. This is a critical part of seeing God move.

But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.  James 1:6-7

Ask Him

In both stories, we see Elijah praying, asking God to do the impossible, to bring fire from heaven and send rain in a time of drought.  Have you truly asked faithfully for God to move in the area of your concern?  Have you begged Him?  

You do not have because you do not ask God.  James 4:2

Watch Him

God wants to do GOD SIZED things in our lives, because in those He gets the full glory.  Elijah watched Him bring fire down from heaven on a soaked offering and bring rain after a deathly drought.  Believe God can – Believe God will – Ask Him – then Watch Him work in ways that are bigger and crazier than you could have even imagined.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  Ephesians 3:20

I want you to end JumpStart today by watching and listening to a song we sing at CPC and letting God use it to speak to you.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

March 2, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 17:8-24

1 Kings 17 begins the story of Elijah, the great prophet who stands as the pattern for other prophets (Malachi 4:5–6). As we open our passage today we are in the middle of a three-and-a-half-year drought (Luke 4:25; James 5:17). Because of this drought there was no food in the land. Therefore, God, wishing to preserve his prophet, orders Elijah to go to a widow who will provide for him.

Not only was he to find a widow, but he was going to Zarephath of Sidon.  Zarephath was located in Phoenicia, the very center of Baal worship. Likewise, this is the home of Jezebel the wife of Ahab, King of the northern territory of Israel, who led his kingdom into the worship of Baal (1 Kings 16:30–32).

Don’t let the irony of this order from God to Elijah pass you by, widows were not well off, and if famine hit, they would feel the effects first. In addition, although Elijah arose to combat Baal worship in Israel, he was going to the seat of the enemy camp to show the power of Yahweh. Both the idea of going to a widow and going to Zarephath were farfetched.  

Although Baal was impotent to combat the drought and famine, Yahweh multiplied the widow’s resources so that she never ran out of flour and oil to sustain the three of them. As the story continues, and we think things have settled down, the widow’s son dies. In yet another example of Yahweh’s power, the boy was brought back to life. All of this leads to the key verse of chapter 17 when the woman declares to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

This chapter of 1st Kings provides us with the introduction of one of the greatest of all Old Testament prophets. However, Elijah’s coming points us to the fact that Yahweh is Lord and that nothing should detract from our worship of him. Elijah acted according to the Word of the Lord and, by faith, was used by God to magnify the name of Yahweh in an unbelieving land. In the same way, we are called to take God at his word and, by faith, magnify the name of the Lord in the midst of unbelievers.

Like going to a pagan widow in a famine, God often calls us into unusual situations.

What might God be calling you to do today that seems farfetched or unusual to those who do not know him or his power?

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

March 1, 2017

Today you should read: 1 Kings 17:1-7

There’s a lot of meat in these short seven verses of 1 Kings 17. We see a God ordained drought that Elijah predicts, proving that the One True God that he worships is more powerful and sovereign over Baal because only God controls all of nature and life, not the false gods that they worshipped. We also see the provision of our Lord as he tells Elijah that he will drink from a brook and be fed by the ravens as he was commanded to hide east of the Jordan during the drought. Yes, you read that right. He would be fed bread and meat by the ravens. Beggars can’t be choosers, but I wonder if those ravens brought him a good ribeye or two in that time of provision. But beyond God’s proving and provision, the biggest thing that stuck out to me in this passage can be found in verse 5 where God’s Word says:

So he went and did according to the word of the LORD.

This particular verse stuck out to me because I noticed how Elijah didn’t hesitate to obey what God commanded him but instead he WENT and DID according to God’s Word. This was an audible word from God at that time but it should be no different for us as we read God’s written word. He still speaks and as Elijah did, we should instantly obey. Elijah was content with the water from the brook and his new dinner companions, the ravens in the sky. He just obeyed whatever God commanded him and personally this is a lesson we all need to heed. When God speaks, we obey. What is it that God has been saying to you as of lately that you’ve been having a hard time obeying?

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor