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LIO week of 7/25: Series – Switch: Throwing Shade to Blessed

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for the week.

LIO 7/23-24: Series – Switch: Throwing Shade to Blessed

Click here to download a printable version of the message notes for this weekend.

Click here to download a printable version of the discussion questions for this weekend.

 

LIO Weekend of 7/23-24, Family Activity: Cedarville Recap

Cedarville Image 21414

 

Weekend Recap:

This weekend in CedarVille, we learned how God’s love can change us. Sometimes we make bad choices, but God’s love changes us and helps us make good choices!

 

Scripture:

As a family read about Saul’s life and how he changed his life and name (Acts 9: 1-31). Also take time to read a key verse from this weekend in James:
“Indeed, we all make mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James 3:2

 

Family Discussion Questions:

In the beginning, how did Saul treat people who followed Jesus? What happened to Saul after Jesus talked to him? What happened to Saul when Ananias came to see him? Did Saul start believing in Jesus? How did Saul change from the beginning of the story to the end?

 

Family Activity:

The story of Saul shows us that God’s love can really change us! To show the change that happened in Saul’s life, draw a picture of him before he started to love God. How did Saul act? Would his face look grumpy and mean, or nice and happy? Take this picture and cover up Saul’s eyes with pieces of paper or by coloring over them. Saul was blinded so that he could eventually see God’s love! Now draw a new picture of Saul after he was no longer blind and God’s love changed him! Did he stop making bad choices? Would his face look happier now? God’s love changed Saul, and God’s love can change us too! We can start making good choices because of God’s love and follow him!

 

Memory Verse:

In CedarVille, we have the opportunity to memorize a verse and earn a special treat. It makes all the difference when families work on memorizing the verse together! This week take time to practice James 4:10. The verse is found below. Check out our CedarVille.tv Facebook page for motions that can help your family learn the memory verse together!

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” –James 4:10

LIO 7/22 – God Wanted to Kill a Child?

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for the week.

FRIDAY – God Wanted to Kill a Child?
Big Point: God wants us to trust him with everything.

One of the more controversial passages in the Bible appears in Genesis 22, where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as an offering. Many people question God in this story because it makes him seem to be in favor of child sacrifice. On a surface reading of this story, one could definitely come to this conclusion. However, as with any biblical text, we must understand the context and intent of the passage. Through a careful study of this passage, we learn that the point of this passage has nothing to do with child sacrifice, and that God would never actually call for a father or a mother to sacrifice his or her child. We cannot afford to miss the point when we read scripture.

To assume that the moral of the story is that God might require child sacrifice from his people is short-sighted, especially given all of the instances where God specifically expresses his hatred of child sacrifice (Lev. 20:2-5, Jer. 32:35, etc.). Simply put, nowhere in the Bible can you find God asking someone to sacrifice their child and allowing them to follow through on it. Not only that, but the message of this story was that Abraham needed to trust God – even with the life of his beloved son, Isaac. Trusting God with his son actually allowed him to love Isaac more fully. As Pastor and author Tim Keller writes, “Abraham took that journey, and only after that could Abraham love Isaac well and wisely. If Isaac had become the main hope and joy of Abraham’s life, his father would have either overdisciplined him (because he needed his son to be “perfect”) or underdisciplined him (because he couldn’t bear his son’s displeasure) or both.”

Abraham knew that even if he sacrificed Isaac, God would have brought him back from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19). He trusted God with his son, his heir, the one he had been awaiting for his entire life. James tells us that Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions. This is key to James’ message. Abraham wasn’t made right with God by his actions; instead, his actions proved he was right with God. This is the third aspect of saving faith – trust.

Not even his son was off limits to God. Everything he had he trusted to God. We sit thousands of years removed from the story of Abraham and Isaac, knowing that God asks us to trust Him with everything, not fully recognizing that everything means everything.

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?
James 2:21
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

If part of having a passionate faith is being obedient to God (like Abraham), in which areas of your life can you be more obedient to God?

 

How might God be asking you to trust him today?

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Switch Series—Memory Verse:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 (New Living Translation)


 

LIO for 7/22 Reading Plan: James, Chapter 5

James 5 (NLT)

Warning to the Rich

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.

Patience and Endurance

7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

The Power of Prayer

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

Restore Wandering Believers

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.


We would love to hear your thoughts on today’s reading. Please join the discussion on the CedarCreek.tv Facebook page.

LIO 7/21 – How Do You Know You’re Saved?

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for the week.

THURSDAY – How Do You Know You’re Saved?
Big Point: We know we’re saved when we want to obey.

When you grow up in the church, it is said that you are usually saved at least a couple of times. You say the “Salvation prayer” over and over just to be sure you really meant it the first few times you said it. Then you wonder, “Is that really it?” Are you now safe from the fire and brimstone you’ve had nightmares about? If you came to Christ as an adult, does merely saying “the prayer” provide a free pass from all of the times you messed up in the past? We need to have a clear understanding of what saving faith really is.

It seems so easy; salvation is a free gift, but how do we know that the Spirit of Christ is really living inside of us? According to theologian R.C. Sproul, there are three aspects of saving faith: intellectual awareness, intellectual assent, and fiduciary commitment. In other words, we must understand the truth claims of Jesus, we must accept the truth claims of Jesus, and we must trust Jesus with our whole life. The last part is the most important. Even Satan and the demons know they are lost and that Jesus is God’s Son, however, they don’t lay themselves before Him and ask for salvation through Christ alone. In putting our faith in Him alone and seeking to obey Him, we are truly saved. As our campus pastors said this weekend, “Religion says we are saved by what we do. Jesus says you are saved by what He has done.”
We know we are saved when our beliefs match our actions, when we truly want to live a life devoted to Christ. Not because we feel like we have to, but because we truly desire to please God.

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?
James 2:14
What good is it dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

Question: According to the passage above what are two crucial components of a saving faith?
Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
How can you know that you are saved?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
If someone were to examine your life, would they know you were a Christian? How?

 

PRAY IT…
Ask God to reveal the true state of your relationship with Christ. Pray for clarity in ways that you can live out your salvation to honor Christ’s sacrifice and make your life look different than that of those around you. Pray that your faith and your actions are aligned.
 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Switch Series—Memory Verse:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 (New Living Translation)


 

LIO for 7/21 Reading Plan: James, Chapter 4

James 4 (NLT)

Drawing Close to God

4 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Warning against Judging Others

11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

Warning about Self-Confidence

13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.

17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.


We would love to hear your thoughts on today’s reading. Please join the discussion on the CedarCreek.tv Facebook page.

LIO 7/20 – Does God Play Favorites?

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for the week.

WEDNESDAY – Does God Play Favorites?
Big Point: A passionate faith does not play favorites.

Here’s one LivingItOut writer’s personal story about his grandfather: My grandfather grew up during the Great Depression. As a result, he became frugal, hardworking, and responsible with his finances. He worked in a factory then went home to farm his land. When he would go car shopping, he was ignored by many dealers until one lucky salesman found out that my grandfather had the cash to pay for a car tucked away in his old flannel shirt and work pants. The other agents had overlooked him because he did not appear affluent enough for them to bother investing their time and attention.
How many times have we shown special attention and respect to those appearing rich and powerful versus someone who may have been less sophisticated? When we avoid making eye contact with the homeless man in shabby clothing, do we make him feel less than human? This is not the example Christ gave us. He engaged people with whom others would not associate, including prostitutes, lepers, and poverty-stricken individuals. He looked them in the eye. He touched and hugged them. He let them know they were important. Does your faith compel you to reach out to the less popular in society, to embrace the unlovable, to befriend those without friends, or give your time and resources to someone who can never do anything for you in return? Or, do you, like those who don’t follow Christ’s example, favor the movers and shakers of the world? Does your faith make you any different than the world? Does your faith move you to love others the way God loved you when you were completely unlovable?

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?
James 2:8-9
8Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

Question: Why do you think James take such a severe stance on favoritism?
Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
How is it possible to obey part of God’s law by loving others as ourselves, but still break the law by showing favoritism?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
Are there certain people you tend to avoid?
 
Knowing what James says about this, what can you do to change your behavior?

 

PRAY IT…
Thank the Holy Spirit for bringing this issue to your attention. Ask Him to search you and point out any shortcomings you may have in your treatment of others. Then ask Him to bring your will into line with His and provide you opportunities to show love and respect to everyone who comes across your path, not just a select few.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Switch Series—Memory Verse:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 (New Living Translation)


 

LIO for 7/20 Reading Plan: James, Chapter 3

James 3 (NLT)

Controlling the Tongue

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

True Wisdom Comes from God

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.


We would love to hear your thoughts on today’s reading. Please join the discussion on the CedarCreek.tv Facebook page.

LIO 7/19 – When You Shouldn’t Show Mercy

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for the week.

TUESDAY – When You Shouldn’t Show Mercy
A passionate faith shows mercy to others.

Your cell phone rings at work. The voice on the other end of the line is the junior high counselor calling to tell you that your son was the victim of a bully who physically and emotionally tormented him to the point of tears in front of his classmates. Your heart rate elevates and you immediately feel overwhelming emotions of anger and sadness rising inside you. Beyond concern for your son’s well being, your next thought is what kind of person would do such a thing to your child? What sort of parents would raise such a child? And what will the school do to ensure the well-being of your son? In a situation like this, the idea of showing mercy and forgiveness toward the aggressor is almost unimaginable.

One of the key challenges many of us face in our walk with Christ is our desire for those who have wronged us to pay for their sins. However, it is not ultimately up to us to make that happen. As Pastor Andy Stanley says, “In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another.”

Our desire for consequences or, worse yet, vengeance, represents a double standard that illustrates our lack of accountability for our own sins. It also reveals a lack of faith and respect for our Lord. A passionate faith shows mercy to others. To be merciful and live as God desires, we must realize that it is not our place to pass judgment. Though it may at times seem undeserved, we are called to show mercy to even the most unsavory of people.

Mercy and forgiveness do not equate to a lack of consequences. The schoolyard bully will likely receive his comeuppance one day. But even when there does not appear to be immediate consequences, we know that judgment will be forthcoming. For although God will indeed forgive and show mercy to those who turn to Him in repentance and faith, we are assured in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?
James 2:12-13
12So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Question: Why is it never acceptable to withhold mercy and forgiveness from our fellow man?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
Think of an instance when you withheld forgiveness for the actions of another person. How did this behavior leave you feeling?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
How will you act differently the next time you are wronged by another person? What will you gain – and lose – by showing mercy and forgiveness, and leaving judgment to our Lord?

 

PRAY IT…
God, I pray that you grant me the humility and wisdom to realize that because I have sinned, I have no right to judge others – even those who have sinned against me. Help me to understand and believe that mercy, love, and forgiveness are gifts that I am called to bestow upon all people, and to trust you to serve as the only righteous judge of another person’s actions.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Switch Series—Memory Verse:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 (New Living Translation)


 

Additional Resources

James Reading Plan

John Reading Plan

Making It Last, Marriage Resources

Deeper Study

 


2016 Memory Verses

Switch Series
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
James 4:10

Summer Concert Series
"My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!”
Psalm 57:7

Family Matters Series
"A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.”
Proverbs 24:3

Comeback Series
"Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
Ephesians 4:23-24

One On One Series
"Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, 'I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.'”
John 8:12

Crazy In Love Series
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other."
Romans 12:10

Awaken Series
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:14b

Past Memory Verses

Click here to download the 2015 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2014 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2013 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2012 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2011 Memory Verses.