September 5, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

“Follow Your Dreams.” I know you’ve heard these encouraging words before. You’ve probably even shared those 3 words with someone as well. There’s like a million internet memes and encouraging posters that says the same thing including this little gem that all of my fellow UK Anthony Davis fans should find a good chuckle in.

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As encouraging as that line is, God is saying something a little different in today’s Jumpstart scripture. In v. 3 Solomon says For a dream comes with much business and a fool’s voice with many words. Other translations says a dream comes when there are many cares and words. The problem is that there’s not a lot of action to accomplish those dreams and let’s be honest, most dreams never become a reality, hence the word “DREAM.” Many teens dream to become pro sports players or get into any ivy league college. Many adults dream of the day that their mortgage is paid off and can pay off all of their kid’s college loans. This is not reality for most people just like most of our “decisions” for God is not a reality for the people who constantly go to church, camp, discipleships saying they’re going to do all of these things for God, give up certain things, etc. etc. but it never becomes a reality. This is why Solomon says in v. 1-2 it’s better to guard your steps and watch your mouth when going to the house of God. Many people make false commitments and decisions for God not because they don’t have earnest desires to turn their life around but because they are caught up in emotion and oversell their dreams in what they hope to do. The problem is that God wants you to LISTEN more then make false vows to Him (v. 1, 4-6)

So how do we make these “dreams” for God into reality? When you make a vow, surrender it all to Him. Don’t hold back on it.  Fulfill it.  If not, you are making a mockery of God and the vows He has made to you. Its better to not have even said it if you aren’t going to do it. It’s ultimately a sin when you say these things and don’t fulfill them.  All of those words and dreams about the things you cared for but that is not becoming a reality means nothing in God’s eyes unless you fulfill them and do them.  Therefore stand in awe of God. Fear God, Recognize that you didn’t make this vow to me as a student pastor, to former camp preachers, to Tim on a Sunday morning or your discipler but to a Holy God and that should cause you to FULFILL YOUR VOWS more then FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS because your vows with God holds a weight to them compared to words with many cares but not much action to them.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

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September 4, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 4

We should clarify why we labor …

I love the book of Ecclesiastes.  Some find it depressing, and I do too at times!  But I value the fact that it speaks like the common man.  It doesn’t present “super-spiritual” knowledge that I don’t feel I can live up to.  The preacher writing this book just speaks plainly, in a way that we can all relate.  I think that one of the reasons God gives us refreshing books like this and the Psalms is so we can feel the freedom to cry out freely to God and explain what we’re really feeling, without feeling the need to be “good enough.”  We can be honest with God, and if we feel like everything is just pointless sometimes, God wants to hear about it.

This chapter, in particular, is great.  It speaks of riches not being able to satisfy our heart, it speaks of the strength of unity (which we can relate to the importance of church), and it speaks of remembering to maintain humility and to seek wisdom, even amidst our success.

Today, I just want to focus on the end of verse 8.  It says,

“… and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.”

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

I can relate to this verse.  Growing up I watched as my family toiled and strived in a successful business.  It provided for my family and by God’s grace still does in wonderful ways.  But on the other side of this comes stress, always wanting to accomplish more, and a constant toil.  I was privileged to be in a position to have the ability to step outside of this and ask “why?”  “What is it for?”

I think from time to time it is healthy for all of us to do this.  We live in such a busy world that we rarely step back, breathe, and ask ourselves about why we do what we do.  Why do we strive?  What are we hoping to gain?  For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?  Is it for nothing?  Is it for me?  Or is it for God?

So maybe today we can ask ourselves these questions with the ultimate goal of making God and advancing His kingdom the central reasons of why we do what we do.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

September 3, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 3

Why can I not read this passage without envisioning CPC member, Mike Pepper, dancing to and singing The Byrds’ version of Ecclesiastes 3?

“To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season –turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose

Under heaven”

—The Byrds—“Turn! Turn! Turn!”

Sorry, Mike.  I’m not sure why you come to mind when I read this.  Anyway…

The other thought that comes to mind when I read this chapter is the solid truth that God is absolutely in control…of EVERY event under heaven (vs. 1).  God is sovereign over the good and the bad.  Nothing happens that is not allowed by Him to work towards His glory.

Look through that list of things that there is “a time for” in verses 2-8.  There’s a time for good things, and a time for bad things.  Amidst the good and the bad, God “has made everything appropriate in its time” (vs. 11).  And “everything that God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and nothing to take away from it” (vs. 14).

I can relate to the author.  There are a lot of things that happen on this earth that are difficult to grasp, and it sometimes seems like life doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Still yet, God is in control.  He has an appointed time for everything that happens.  Nothing has caught Him off guard.

I know His sovereignty is maybe old news to many of us, but, man, it’s good to be reminded of His sovereignty when tough things AND encouraging things happen.  Whatever is has happened, is happening, or will happen is all under the authority and appointment of a God who knows EXACTLY what He is doing!

Posted by: Rich Duffield

September 2, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 2

YOLO has been one of the cool sayings in popular culture over the past couple of years. If you are reading this and you are over the age of 35, I’ll give you a moment to try and figure out what this means. No, it’s not a new frozen yogurt shop. YOLO stands for “you only live once.” This is not the first time in history that mantras like this have been uttered. We have all heard things like: “You have to get the most out of this life” or “When I die I really want people to know I lived.” In the right moment and context mantras like these can be helpful and inspiring, but for the most part they point to a deep desire for the pursuit of pleasure.
In our passage today, the author (whom most scholars believe to be King Solomon) points out the futility of the pursuit of pleasure. I want us to consider two things as we read today’s passage.

1. Why should we listen to Solomon?
It is easy to dismiss Old Testament literature as irrelevant for us today. However, Solomon has more experience with the pleasures of life than anyone in the history of mankind.

– Solomon was the richest and most powerful king in his day and most scholars agree the most wealthy and powerful king ever.
– Solomon had fame, money, and success.
– Solomon had more women than the biggest playboys in our world today.
– He had the respect of the other world leaders at the time as well (1 Kings 10). (For more info read 1 Kings 4-11)

Solomon knows to the very end of what pleasure offers and his answer is “There is nothing to be gained under the sun.”

2. What does Solomon say we should pursue?
Wisdom that comes from God. (James 1:5; Ecclesiastes 2:24-26)

Solomon is not talking about worldly wisdom but the wisdom that focuses on more than this life. A wisdom that comes from humbly following after the one true king Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Question to Ponder:
What are you pursuing?

Posted by: Chad Wiles