September 19, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: North American Mission Board. Church planting initiatives around the USA and Canada. Visit namb.net for more info.

Today you should read: Philippians 1:27-30

This is just a small section of Scripture, but it packs a punch.

Aside from my role at CPC Richmond, I have worked 12 years full-time and the past 1.5 years as part-time staff with a college ministry called Cru.  Our desire is to give every student on campus an opportunity to respond to the claims of Christ, build up believers in their faith, and send them out to have a ministry of their own while in college and beyond graduation.  My main role with Cru has involved going to campuses in Kentucky to launch new student-led movements.  Some new movements have launched and gone well, while some have not gone so well.  Morehead State Cru is an example of a movement that launched and is going well.

I can sort of relate with Paul when he wrote, “Only conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,…”(vs. 27).  I only go to Morehead State once a week at most.  When I leave campus, all I can do is trust God and count on our student leaders to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.  If they don’t represent themselves and Christ well, our movement will die.  Unless they walk with the Lord and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), growth and gospel-impact is next to impossible.

Maybe you’ve heard it said that “the biggest harm to the Christian cause is Christians.”  You’ve likely heard someone say the reason they don’t want to come to church is because of hypocrites in the church.  I don’t buy that excuse for not coming to church because there are hypocrites at the grocery stores where they shop, restaurants where they eat, etc., but they still go to those places.  But, I get their point.  We represent the gospel.  We represent Christ.  If we don’t conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel, then we won’t do well at making Christ known, and therefore we’ll become a hindrance to the movement.

It may require some changes in my life, but I desire to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel today.  I am reminded of God’s grace as I think about areas where I fall short, but God still loves me and is molding me to make me more like Himself for His glory.

The second thing I want to briefly point out is in verse 29.  We have been granted the privilege to believe in Christ AND the privilege to suffer for Him.  Did you get that?  Paul said the believers were granted the privilege of suffering for Christ.

So, as we represent Christ and experience suffering for the gospel, we can rejoice in this privilege.  We can rejoice as we, in some way, unite with Christ in His trials.  See, Acts 5:41, Col. 1:24, 1 Peter 4:13, and James 1:2 for more Scripture on the privilege of suffering for Christ.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

September 18, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: CPC East Campus. Continued growth, reaching the lost/unchurched/dechurched in 40509.

Today you should read: Philippians 1:20-26

My first year of Pop Warner football was amazing. All of my friends were playing on the team and we had great coaches. Learning the game was an absolute blast for me. In New York, the youth football leagues functioned similarly to high school football: seeding, brackets, playoffs, and a state championship. Our team was good; we won all but one regular season game. We rolled through the playoffs and made it to the state championship game (Former Green Bay Packers star RB Ryan Grant was on our team, and he was a beast then, too)!

Sadly, we lost the championship game. I remember tearing up with my friends on the sideline (a more manly way of saying that we were weeping in each others arms) wishing we could have pulled it out. We would have emptied our bank accounts for a DeLorean to take us back in time to right our mistakes. In that moment, we would have given almost anything to be victorious. Almost. But… we wouldn’t be willing to risk our lives for football. We wouldn’t be willing to end our athletic careers for that moment in the sun.

That’s the difference between Jesus and all of life’s fleeting pursuits. They’re not worth life OR death. Jesus gives us victory in both life AND death, and He is worth both. Paul says it so well in our passage today:

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Philippians 1:20-23

Here are the simple reflection questions for the day, Jumpstarters:

Is this how you view Jesus? Is this how you embrace your Christian faith?

I long for Paul’s passion for Jesus. I’m striving for it. I hope you’ll join with me in the life-and-death-worthy pursuit of your Savior.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

September 17, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: CPC Richmond Campus. Continued growth, reaching the lost/unchurched/dechurched in Madison County. Impact at EKU. Pray for Ministry Associate Rich Duffield and his leadership at CPC Richmond.

Today you should read: Philippians 1:12-19

The apostle Paul had laser focus. He seemed to always want one thing to happen. He wanted the gospel to go out. He wanted Jesus to be made famous to everyone, no matter the situation. Paul was in prison, chained up and all he can think about is the gospel being advanced. And, not only that, but his hardships and suffering are causing others to preach Jesus more boldly. What matters to Paul is not the circumstance, not the motive, not his life, but that “Christ is preached.” This was the cause of Paul’s rejoicing. I don’t know about you but if I were chained up in prison and people were stirring up trouble for me out of spite I would struggle to rejoice. But, Paul did not. He had one aim, Jesus.

What about you? What is your aim? Do you aim for a nice life? Retirement? Comfort and convenience? Or, is your aim something a little higher? Something bigger than yourself? Is your aim in life the same SOMEONE who Paul rejoiced in? If not, what do you need to do today to change that? How can you re-arrange your schedule and re-arrange your priorities to make this your aim, your joy?

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

September 16, 2013

Today’s Missions Prayer Request: CPC West Campus: Launching October 20th. Pray for growth through reaching the lost/unchurched/dechurched in 40503 and 40504. Pray for Ministry Associate Sam Cirrincione and his leadership. Pray for continued development of our launch team as well.

Today you should read: Philippians 1:1-11

JumpStarters… welcome to a new book!  Today we begin a study through the book of Philippians.  If you have some extra time this week – read this book one time start to finish in one setting to gain the full picture of what its saying.  This is a letter written to the church in Philippi by the church planter – Paul the Apostle.   Philippi is a port city located on the Aegean Sea near Greece and Turkey.

Middle East Map

Paul visited Philippi on his second missionary journey (about 50 AD [17 years after the crucifixion).  Philippi became an early center for Christianity in Greece in about 10 years.  Paul wrote this letter from a prison cell either in Caesarea (waiting to be transported to Rome), in Rome, or possibly from Ephesus.  Some believe that Luke was the pastor of the church there.

Ruins In Philippi
Ruins In Philippi

Paul begins by acknowledging a few things…

  •  The authorship – Paul and Timothy
  •  The position – slaves (literally bond-slaves) of Jesus Christ
  •  The recipients – The church at Philippi

Paul has a special place in his heart for the people at the church of Philippi – after all he gave birth to this church himself.  He wishes them grace and peace in verse 2, and affirms how much he loves them in verse 3-4 and verse 7-8.  They have been faithful partners in the proclamation of the Gospel ever since they heard about it (v.5).  God started that work in them – and God will finish it (v.6).

Paul challenges them in verses 10-11 – and it’s certainly a challenge for us today as well.  He challenges us to understand what really matters.  And, what is that?  What matters most?  Our love for our Savior of course – and how that changes how we live!  He tells us to live pure and blameless lives (lives that cannot be blamed by others) until Jesus returns.  Is there anything in your life that doesn’t meet those qualifications?

Paul exhorts us to be filed with the fruit of our salvation – to look and act like followers of Christ.  To show that we’ve been changed and to share the miracle of the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with.  To allow the righteous character of Jesus to be produced in us – this will bring much glory and praise to our Father.

How applicable this 2,000-year-old letter is to us as well!  Take a moment and ask God how He wants to use these 11 verses in your life today.  Be encouraged –  Be changed – Be victorious!

Posted by: Tim Parsons