September 28, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: CPC’s Sponsored Churches. We have been a part of building 20 churches in 14 different countries, and a church+orphanage project in Tanzania! Pray that God continues to use these congregations to spread the gospel. Pray for protection over our churches/pastors in hostile areas. icm.org

Today you should read: Philippians 4:10-23

Today’s Jumpstart happens to have one of my favorite “go to” scripture passages and no, it’s not Philippians 4:13. (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”) Instead it’s this:

19 And my God will supply EVERY NEED of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

We all feel like we can’t live without certain things — that we absolutely NEED some things — or life is just not worth living. For some, it’s their cell phone or computer. For others, it’s their boyfriend/girlfriend or marriage. Most teens think they NEED their independence or approval from a certain crowd. Adults think they NEED to keep up with the “Joneses.’” A lot of these things can be gracious gifts from God but they aren’t exactly what we NEED. That’s because, as this passage shows, all we NEED is Jesus. Because the Gospel is sufficient, Jesus is all we need in this life and the life to come. The Gospel was enough, is enough, and will be enough.

What’s great about this truth is that the first 8 verses make much more sense and seem much more possible. Look at these two tough things Paul tells us to do that are only possible through knowing that Jesus is enough:

Because Jesus is all we need… 1. We can be content in every situation

When God gives abundantly. When God takes away.

Vs. 13 has been misinterpreted and misused because it has been taken out of context and turned into this magical verse that somehow applies to everything you want but God may know that you don’t need it.

• I can win this game… with Christ who strengthens me.

• I can get that hot guy or hot girl… with Christ who strengthens me.

• I can become more popular at school or get a raise at work… with Christ who strengthens me.

• I can eat all of the junk food I want without blowing up like a whale… with Christ who strengthens me.

According to Vs. 11-12, v. 13 is having the strength to be content when you are either suffering or blessed beyond reason.

What God is really trying to say here is that Jesus is enough for you in the best of seasons and worst of seasons.  You can be satisfied and strengthened in Jesus when life sucks and you can be content in humility and grace when you are in a season of blessing.

Instead of looking at Jesus as the one who can give you the strength to win that sports game or get that raise this means that He will give you the strength to be content in your worst situation.

What’s your worst situation? How can things get worse? If you know Jesus is all you need then you can have the strength to be content, at peace, not stressed or depressed during that time. Someone who hurts you can’t take away your Heavenly Father.

What’s your best situation? How can things get better? If you know Jesus is all you need then you can have the strength not to become prideful in thinking that you or someone else brought on your happiness or become greedy wanting more then what you already have.

Now here’s the second thing Paul asks Christians to do knowing that Jesus is all we NEED…

Because Jesus is all we NEED…2. We ought to help meet each other’s needs

People are needy and those needs can become all consuming and burdensome. However, if the Gospel is sufficient for those needs we can help meet those needs in the Gospel.

Vs. 14- This church shared Paul’s troubles; they took his burden as their own.

Vs. 15-16 No other church would help him in giving and receiving except for the church of Philippi. Even when he was at a different church they would help him out.

Vs. 17- It wasn’t in the actual gift that they helped meet his need but it was the fruit that came from their gifts.   As the church of Philippi was gracious and giving it encouraged Paul will he was in prison and being persecuted.

-How are you helping meet others’ needs?

-Are you content in every situation?

This is all possible when you realize that Jesus is all you need to accomplish both of the points referenced above. He is all you need for salvation.   He is all you need to help others.   So, persevere through the highs and lows until you are finally with the Father who provided all you’ll ever need to be content in this world while anticipating the world to come.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

September 27, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: Syria & Israel. Wisdom for our nation’s leadership, safety for churches and innocent people, political stability.

Today you should read: Philippians 4:1-9

“To deeply understand fear we must also look at ourselves and the way we interpret our situations. Those scary objects can reveal what we cherish. They point out our insatiable quest for control, our sense of aloneness. Even the vocabulary indicates that the problem can be deeper than a real, objective danger.” ~ Ed Welch, Running Scared: Fear, Worry & The God of Rest

About nine months ago I became a father for the first time. Besides the day I came to know Jesus as my Savior and the day I married my beautiful wife, Marie, seeing my son being born was the greatest day of my life. I love being a dad, but after we brought Hudson home I began to worry a lot more than usual. I would wake up in the middle of the night just to check that he was still breathing. I would have dreams about someone breaking in and stealing him. I would have thoughts about him and Marie getting into an accident. I knew that worry was somewhat normal as a new parent but, for the first couple of weeks, fear was beginning to dominate my thoughts. I began to pray and ask God to show me my heart. Why am I so afraid?

Welch’s comments about our insatiable quest for control were exactly what I was experiencing. My biggest fear was not that something could happen to my family but that something could happen and I could not do anything to stop it. I began to realize that no matter how well I tried to protect my wife and son, if God wanted to take him or my wife, He can and He will.

Paul’s words in verses 4-7 are such a comfort to my heart, and I hope to yours as well. Paul urges us to “not be anxious about anything”. On the surface that is really hard for us to do. All of us have real fears. Yet Paul is not telling us to blindly have courage but to shift our focus to the only one who can give us hope. Jesus Christ came to give us, His children, a hope in God and the knowledge that He is fighting for us and giving us victory in the end. So the question of fear and anxiety is not an issue of danger but an issue of trust.

As I spent time praying and reading scripture around the time my son was born God reminded me that he loves my wife and son much more than I could ever love them. I was also reminded that God has a plan and is in control of all things — regardless of what happens.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1

Questions to Ponder:

1.      What are some of your fears and how do you need to let them go and trust in God?

2.      Do you believe that God has your best interest in mind? Are you willing to trust him with everything?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

September 26, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: Claude and Michelle Ezagouri. They are planting Morning Star Fellowship in one of the toughest mission fields in the world: Tiberias, Israel.

Today you should read: Philippians 3:12-21

Let me take you back to my elementary school days.  The best day of the entire school year was a particular day in the spring called Field Day.  Field Day was a day filled with competitions among classmates in outdoor sports such as individual sprints, relay races, the standing broad jump, and the softball throw.

First-place winners of these competitions received a coveted blue ribbon.  Now, I’m not one to brag, BUT, let’s just say I garnered a drawer full of blue ribbons during my illustrious athletic career between Kindergarten and fourth grade.  (Disclaimer:  we only had about 20 people in my class and I was probably 8-feet taller and a little more athletic than most all of them.)

I’m sure Field Day was a miserable day for some of my classmates.  In fact, I bet some of them would have rather stayed in class than go outside and compete in athletic events.  But, for me, it was awesome because I was pretty confident I would win every event.  It’s easy to be motivated to run a race when you know you’ve already won.

When I read this passage, I was reminded that part of Paul’s motivation to press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” (Phil. 3:12 NLT), was because he knew he had already won.  His position before God as 100% perfect and justified because of Christ was already a done deal.  He knew his condition on earth was not yet perfect, but he pressed on in his earthly life towards the finish line because he knew he had already won the race because of what Christ has done.

When you have the full and solid assurance that you are a child of God, that all of your sin has been forgiven—past, present, and future—and, that you are seen as perfect in God’s eyes because of Christ, you can’t help but be motivated to run the race and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14 NASB)

The coveted blue ribbon is already waiting to be given to you.  It’s yours!  Let go of what lies behind, and reach forward to what lies ahead (vs. 13).  We must have this attitude as followers of Christ (vs. 15).  If you don’t have this attitude already, God will reveal that to you (vs. 15).  If He reveals that your attitude is one of defeat instead of having already won the prize, I encourage you to ask the Spirit to transform your heart to being a motivated runner who is confident in the eternal outcome of the race you are running.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

September 25, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: Kris Howard, CPC Missionary In East Asia. Kris serves with Cru on college campuses cru.org.

Today you should read: Philippians 3:1-11

Have you ever been called a bad name? It can’t be as bad as the recipients of Paul’s anger in Philippians 3. Whatever you’ve been called — however bad it may have seemed — hasn’t been read over and over and over and over again for 2000 years. So, after reading today, do you think Paul takes the purity of the gospel seriously? He sure does. He comes at those who twist the gospel with pretty harsh words.

“dogs”         “evildoers”        “mutilators”

These aren’t exactly the terms you throw around in casual conversation. He was making a point. While he tells the Philippians to be gracious and loving, he also shows them that the gospel must be protected at all costs. Those teaching circumcision as a requirement for salvation (*similar argument today with those contending for a baptismal regeneration theology) were twisting the gospel. These “Judaizers” missed the grace found in the true way of salvation: repentance and faith in Jesus.

This is a helpful note from the ESV Study Bible on Paul’s harsh rebuke:

‘Dogs’ was not only a general term of derision in the ancient world, it was particularly a word used by some Jews in reference to Gentiles, who were considered ritually unclean. With biting irony, Paul says that the Judaizers, not the Gentiles, deserve that label. Paul’s irony continues as he labels those who extol good works of the law as evildoers and those who mutilate the flesh. This last phrase (Greek: tēn katatomēn) is a play on words with circumcision (Greek: peritomē). The Judaizers’ supposed badge of pride turns out to be the sign of their destruction.

Philippians 3:4-11 is simply awesome. Paul walks us into the trophy room of religious success. He gives us the tour. We get to look around in awe…. and then he calls it garbage in comparison to knowing Jesus.

This is a good reminder for each and every Christian today. No matter what we’ve done for God or how good we think we are, nothing is greater than being a child of the King! Everything else pales in comparison. This is also a good reminder for each and every non-believer today. The family you were born into, the good you’ve done, the church you attend, and the religious rules you’ve followed — none of these get you into heaven. Only the resurrected Jesus can do that. You don’t get to show Jesus your moral/religious trophy room as your ticket to heaven. You need to throw yourself on His mercy and embrace the forgiveness He offered you at the cross.

CPC family: what did God teach you today through this passage?

Posted by: Todd Thomas