May 4, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 1:1-4

Today, we begin the brief journey through John’s shorter letters (1-3 John), and while these letters may seem small, John has a way packing a lot of important theology and practical life application in them. Many commentators and scholars see these letters as paramount to evangelical faith and practice. Some believe that John was responding to the beginnings of the Gnosticism heresies that sprouted soon after Jesus died. Here is a great tidbit from the ESVSB on the overall theme of 1 John:

In 1 John the author calls readers back to the three basics of Christian life: true doctrine, obedient living, and fervent devotion. Because “God is light” (1:5), Christ’s followers overcome evildoers who seek to subvert them. The one who lives in and among them—God’s Son—is greater than the spirit of “the antichrist” now in the world (4:3–4). To believe in the name of the Son of God is to know the assurance of eternal life (5:13).

It is customary to understand 1 John as a response to the rise of an early form of Gnosticism. This was a religious mysticism that pirated Christian motifs to propagate an understanding of salvation based on esoteric “knowledge” (Gk. gnōsis). According to this view, redemption is through affirming the divine light already in the human soul, not through repentance of sin and faith in Christ’s death to bring about spiritual rebirth.

John, as he does in His gospel, begins 1 John with a defense of the deity of Jesus Christ. This was so vital for young Christians to understand, especially in light of the fact that Christianity itself had its “formal” beginning only a few decades earlier. Theology may have seemed “up for grabs” in the early church, so it was of highest importance to have authorized, valid teachers address it. John was more than ready for the task. He explains in just a few phrases that Jesus is eternal (v.1), incarnate (v.1), truth (v.1), life itself and the giver of eternal life (v.2), sent from the Father (v.3), and finally, joy-giving (v.4). What a fantastic opener to a fantastic letter!

So John makes it clear: knowing Jesus and understanding Him breeds true joy. Do you have joy in Christ today? Fuel it by spending time in His word, talking to Him throughout your day, and yielding to His Spirit. My prayer for you is that you would find fresh faith in your joy-giving Savior as you walk through 1, 2, & 3 John with us here at Jumpstart.

By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor


May 3, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 65

Isaiah 65 offers us a fitting close to the book as a whole. The chapter has to do with both “judgment and salvation” and “new heavens and a new earth”.  It presents a picture of both sin/judgment, as well as hope. This is really reminiscent of the story of the Bible as a whole when you think about it: we are broken because of our sin and yet there is hope because God began executing a plan for our ultimate redemption that we would find through Jesus Christ when sin entered the picture in Genesis 3.

This is a tension that often does not make sense to us: how could a God who is perfectly righteous to be wrathful towards us also be able to show us mercy and kindness? The answer lies in the person that this book has been point to all along: Jesus. Jesus helps us make sense of how wrath can be forgotten and how brokenness can be restored. He was the people of Israel’s only hope, and he is our only hope as well.

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

May 2, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 64

We have all felt like Isaiah at times in chapter 64. After 63 chapters of heartbroken judgment and Messianic hope, Isaiah is finally at his wit’s end and just asking God to come down from Heaven to earth right now in order to display his power and might, to take His rightful reign showing his wrath and grace over our iniquities, and restoring His holy cities and people. Again, we’ve all had those moments and times where we’ve wanted that same thing. Sometimes it’s after misplaced judgment (after all God really is the only judge) and other times it’s after great hope for a Savior in a situation or circumstance that needs salvation. We want God to make an unbelieving world believe again, to start his kingdom reign now as well.

The thing is, we’ve already received what Isaiah was wanting. In the most Messianic Old Testament book, this is one final cry for what we have already witnessed with Jesus Christ, God in man, the fulfilled Messiah coming to this earth to establish His reign over sin, Satan and death through the cross and to give Holy Spirit led, power and life through the resurrection. As often as we still cry out “Come, Lord Jesus, Come” after tragic events on earth, let’s not forget that we have had Him in the first place and He hasn’t left with the keys being given to us the church in the Gospel message that brings heaven to this earth until the day that Isaiah nor Jesus knew Himself, when He’d return to make the new heavens and earth and get rid of sin once and for all. Until then, let’s keep on making the Gospel priority-one if we read this and want what Isaiah wanted.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

May 1, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 63

I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love.  I will praise the Lord for all He has done.  I will rejoice in His great goodness to Israel, which He has granted according to His mercy and love.

God’s been incredibly good to us!  His blessings in our lives are beyond measure.  I want to lead us today in a time of thanks to Him for what He’s done.  Will you join me in a prayer of thanksgiving to God?


  • I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love


How has God’s shown His love to you?  What are the ways? How have you seen God’s love to be unfailing in your life?  How does that bless you?


  • I will praise the Lord for all He has done


What has God done for you?  List as many things as you can think of – write them down if that’s possible.  Praise Him for each.


  • I will rejoice in His great goodness


How has God been good to you?  What form has His goodness taken in your life?  What are some that you’ve overlooked in the past?


  • I will rejoice in His mercy and love


Mercy is God not giving you what you really deserve (punishment for your sin).  Praise God for His Mercy to you. God’s love is Big and broad in our lives. Thank Him for loving you perfectly.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor