September 30, 2011

Today you should read: Jude 1:1-16

Jude is one of the smallest books in the Bible, and although it’s often overlooked, it’s RICH in truth.

This small book is written by Jude (Judah) who identifies himself as “the brother of James” implying that he is also the step-brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). This introduction gives him the authority to deal with some of the difficult and hot burner issues that he addresses.

Although the recipients of the letter are not specifically mentioned, we know they are people who are familiar with the Old Testament and Jewish literature. They are probably the churches that Jude had visited on his journeys.

Jude is short but powerful. It deals with the subjects of false teachers who tried to manipulate the grace of God, spiritual discipline, how to defend your faith, and much more!

Jude jumps right into the action in verse 4… false teachers have wormed their way into your churches – undermining God’s teaching on grace. Do we struggle with this today? You bet! False teaching is so prevalent that many Christians don’t know the false from the true. This is also due to the lack of time many of us spend in God’s Word for ourselves “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so” (Acts 17:11). False teaching comes to us freely from the pulpit, the ipod, the radio, and the pen. We MUST be careful!

Undermining God’s grace is still a big issue on both sides. Some still teach a salvation by works such as doing the right things, attending church, or baptism. Others take the opposite side and say that God’s grace gives us the freedom to do whatever we want and God will simple turn His head and wink. Neither is correct.

Jude goes on to spell out the condemnation that these false prophets will experience in verses 5-16.

So… how can we know True from False?

1. It begins with knowing God yourself – the Holy Spirit in you will guide you and “bear witness” to truth if you learn to listen to Him and follow Him.

2. You need to know your Bible (and that only comes from spending time in it). Read it, study it, memorize it.

3. Don’t be gullible – don’t simple accept everything your hear or read as truth. Much of it isn’t!

4. Ask questions of those you trust, if you don’t understand something or have doubts about its’ accuracy.

5. Protect your family from false teaching. Kids are where cults strike

Thank you SO much for reading JumpStart faithfully. It’s a privilege to provide it for you. Our prayer is that God is growing you through it!

Posted by: Tim Parsons

September 29, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 4:16-22

These passages reveal one overarching truth about God; His Hand is in the details and He works through even the smallest of occurrences in our lives.

Up to this point in the story we have learned that Naomi has experienced several untimely deaths in her family which is not an unusual occurrence for that period in time. So, all that is left for her and her daughter-in-law to do is to go back to their family and hope for the best. They return, completely discouraged and hopeless. Most people probably passed by them day after day without giving them a second thought and all the while, before their very eyes, God was orchestrating the coming of His Messiah!

Now, we are approaching the end of this story with Naomi holding her grandson, Obed, and everyone is taking notice. They still don’t fully understand what is happening but the writer sheds some light on it for us.

Obed grows up to be the father of Jesse. Jesse will grow up and become the father of King David. From David we will see several generations of children leading up to a young couple, pledged to be married, sitting outside of an inn some 2000 years ago giving birth to a little boy named Jesus who would “save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) God’s whole plan of saving the world and redeeming a people for Himself came through a series of small, seemingly insignificant occurrences.

So, here is the point. There are no small occurrences. There are no details that God overlooks and counts as insignificant..and we shouldn’t either. God wants to use us and calls us to be a part of His great plan to see this world saved and restored. This isn’t always being on a stage or talking to thousands of people about the gospel. This could be greeting someone who is hurting as they come into our church. It might be rocking a baby and telling them that God loves them. Or, it could even be putting out that one extra chair for a person who is searching for answers and has decided to give church and God a try. Don’t let the small things get past you. Don’t allow the “insignificance” of you service deter you from giving it all you have. So, when you put those chairs out, or welcome visitors, or serve refreshments, or rock a baby, or fold the Point, or whatever it may be, just imagine what God could do with your one small part in the grand scheme of His plan.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

September 28, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 4:1-15

How unbelievable is the foreshadowing of Christ in the book of Ruth? It’s almost overwhelming. This book is one of the clearest portrayals of the Church’s Redeemer that we later meet in the gospels.

At the end of chapter 3, we see that the desire to wed was there for both Boaz and Ruth. But now it was time for the rubber to meet the road. Would Boaz come through on his promise? Besides, there was another redeemer available for Ruth, thus he could be off the hook if he so desired. Boaz didn’t take the easy route. He pursued Ruth and he pursued this marriage. He wanted to be the redeemer, and he would take whatever avenue necessary to see it come to pass.

The other available redeemer decided that Ruth wasn’t worth squandering the rest of his inheritance over. In other words he was saying, “She isn’t worth my time or money.” Boaz knew the jewel that Ruth really was, and he leaped at the opportunity to call her wife! As we read in the text, this was no ordinary union. This was ordained of God and this was an enormous moment in redemption history. Even the women present that day knew it:

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Ruth 4:14-15

Through this blessed new marriage, the Messiah Jesus Christ would come. While Boaz was a great redeemer, he has nothing on Jesus. He only redeemed one, Jesus came redeem a Bride of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

While the parallels are really neat in this story, we shouldn’t look at them only as cutesy marriage clichés. They are much grander than that. While Ruth was worthy of pursuit, we weren’t. We (the Bride of Christ) were no jewel, not by any means. We were wretched enemies of God (Ephesians 2:1-3). In fact, we were such dark, awful, sin-driven people that we put our Redeemer on a cross. We drove nails through His hands and feet. We didn’t praise Him — we damned His name with both words and lifestyle.

He chose us anyway.

I pray today that we’re humbled that God pursued us even though He knew us. I pray that our only response to Him would be absolute devotion and worship. Blessings on your Wednesday CPC.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

September 27, 2011

Today you should read: Ruth 3

When I read chapter three, I’m inundated with the concepts of God’s providence and protection. God cares for His children! This brings me such peace – especially when I consider that He knows everything and is able to do whatever He wishes.

It makes me think of this passage:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

Even though God’s providence and protection are an act of His grace and are controlled by His divine will, there are certain guidelines that make things work better for us.

OBEDIENCE – obedience brings God’s blessings, while disobedience brings God’s discipline.

TRUST – faith opens the door for God’s hand to move more fully in our lives.

PRAISE – giving Him the credit for what He brings about in your life moves God to action. (He already knows whether you will or won’t credit Him). This makes me think of an old sing I grew up singing:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you;

Beneath His wings of love abide,
 God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
 through every day,
O’er all the way;
 He will take care of you,
 God will take care of you.

God took care of Ruth, and He will take care of you. Trust Him.

Posted by: Tim Parsons