Friday: Nailed It!

The annoyingly obnoxious yet funny show Nailed It! takes a below-average baker and challenges them to re-create a complex bakery masterpiece. To the home viewer, the three “bakers” (I use that term LOOSELY) seem to be complete dopes, and the viewer just knows he/she could do it better and claim the $10,000 prize. Interestingly, in 1 Peter we have the masterpiece recipe for H.O.N.O.R.ing any relationship humanly experienced. God wants to take the below-average relationship and create his masterpiece of beautiful relationships between his people. Peter has laid out the step-by-step directions for fulfilling godly, rich, and satisfying relationships. Today, we look at relationships between Christ followers.

1 Peter 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

Peter’s audience consists of believers, all of whom need guidance for relating to other believers. The above verses are instructions for a new way of treating one another – completely unheard of until Jesus physically entered the world, lived by example, and taught the crowds this new way: turn the other cheek, love your enemy, do good to those who do evil, etc.

Based on the acronym H.O.N.O.R., honoring another believer by being like-minded means Humbling myself. That does not mean blindly agreeing just to get along. Not at all! It means humbling myself to another and giving their ideas/needs precedence over my own. Open-hearted is to love as a brother, love as a sister. Be willing to love someone who is not like you simply because that person is a child of God, just as you are. Non-combative means we do not have to be right or take revenge or gossip about what another has done to us. We are called to return good for evil. If a brother or sister in Christ has wronged us, and you repay with love, you will “heap burning coals on his head.” (Proverbs 25:21-22). Open-handed means to be generous. The first century church shared everything so that no one would go hungry or thirsty or be homeless. We can share open-handedly, too, as we have opportunities to give of our time, talents, and treasure at church. Be Receptive to opportunities to trust God. The Lord wants to bless us through these steps.

This kind of behavior creates relationships that honor God, masterpieces that reveal the very love of God to a world that needs him desperately. Then, God will say to you and to me, “Nailed it!”

Questions:
Which of the steps is hardest for you? Which of these steps have you “nailed”?

Next Steps:
Practice ONE step each day for a week on one believer in your life with whom you’d like to improve your relationship. Choose the most difficult step for you from the H.O.N.O.R. acronym. Journal how that changed your relationship with the believer you chose.

Today, we complete 1 Peter by going through 1 Peter 5. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Jesus, you came, you taught, and you lived the example of a holy life with humans who were imperfect. Help me to read your word and study your word so that I can know how it is done. Peter gave me some practical ways to live a life pleasing to you. I humbly submit my will and tendencies to your perfect will so my relationships will honor you and bring glory to the Father.  In your name I pray, amen.


This post was written by Julie Roehl. Julie loves God’s Word and CedarCreek and is so very grateful for the love and grace of Jesus. She enjoys grammar, traveling, and tennis. She is married to John, and they are blessed with 7 children.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Happily Ever After

As a teenage girl growing up in Germany, I was fascinated by the real-life fairytale wedding of princess Elisabeth of Bavaria (more famously known by her nickname Sissi) to Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1854. He was actually meant to marry her older sister Helene in an arranged political marriage but fell madly in love with Sissi instead—and she with him—during the initial meeting of the families. A royal wedding based on love was unusual, even scandalous at that time. But unlike in fairy tales, where the couple rides off into the sunset to live happily ever after, their marriage was sabotaged by the strict, formal rules of the Viennese royal court of the times and the unrelenting meddling of Franz’s mother. Since divorce was not an option in those times, especially in a royal family, they decided to live separate lives until Sissi’s early death at the hands of a political anarchist at the age of 60. As an adult, I can see now that, tragically, their love could not have endured because they were not able to H.O.N.O.R. one another as a couple due to their circumstances.

Ben spoke this past weekend about how when we know where we belong, we are free to honor everyone. Today we will look specifically at how husbands and wives can H.O.N.O.R. one another. In this context, 1 Peter has some advice for husbands and wives:

1 Peter 3:3-4

3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

1 Peter 3:7

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Growing up, I always knew I would never wanted to have a marriage end  tragically like that of Sissi and Franz – as two people who live together but no longer cherish one another. So, I paid close attention to those in my life who had long-lasting, happy marriages. It became clear to me that there were some key elements that they all shared, and which I have tried to emulate in my own life with the man I love. These key postures for a “Happily Ever After” are nicely summarized by this week’s message from Ben to H.O.N.O.R. our spouses:

Humble – When you do not bring any ego to the relationship with your spouse, you can look for the best solution to any given problem as a team, rather than being interested in your solution being the “right” one.

Open-Hearted – When you love your spouse deeply and with a selfless love, you can open your heart fully to him/her and allow them fully into your life without worrying about getting hurt. It is the kind of love that gives freely but also allows you to receive.

Non-Combatant – When you genuinely respect one another as people, even when you have different views on some things, it allows you not to be easily offended and to let go of trying to be in control or needing to be right.

Open-Handed – When you regularly give your spouse attention through small (and sometimes large) gestures to let him/her know what it means for you to have them in your life, when you thank them for what they do for you, and when you spend quality time with your spouse, they will feel appreciated by you.

Receptive – When you do all the above with mindfulness and purpose, you are following God’s will, and he will grant you countless blessings in your relationship with your spouse.

Often, fear of getting hurt is one of the biggest reasons why people fail to H.O.N.O.R. one another in their relationships. However, if you know where you belong because you have a close relationship with God, you will be free to H.O.N.O.R. your spouse and reap the rewards.

Questions:
Has God presented you with any opportunities today to H.O.N.O.R. your spouse in some way? What are the fears which hold you back from being humble, open-hearted, non-combatant, and/or open-handed with your spouse?

Next Steps:
Write a commitment to being humble, open-hearted, non-combatant, and/or open-handed with your spouse and pin it to your fridge. Make a list of things you can do to show your spouse that you appreciate them being in your life and then do one each day (or at least once a week). If you are not sure, you might want to ask your spouse what makes them feel special and loved, since different people speak different languages of love.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus on 1 Peter 4 today. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:

Dear Father in heaven, please give me the courage and strength to H.O.N.O.R. my spouse by being humble, open-hearted, non-combatant, and open-handed. Please give me the wisdom to appreciate your having placed them in my life. Please help me be confident and at peace as I am grounded in my relationship with you, so that I may be able to open my heart fully to my spouse. Amen.


This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Lutheran church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters and a wonderful man who loves the Lord.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Who’s Behind Authority?

On July 6, 2018, I retired from my position with Hancock County after twenty years of service. During that time, I reported to two different elected officials. I was one of the lucky government employees because I actually respected my employers. It was easier to submit to their authority because their office follows Christian principles. However, my first boss would sometimes use the phrase, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” This would make submission more difficult. We did not always see eye-to-eye, but it was important that I supported to the position of authority.

Romans 13:1-2, 5
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. … 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

1 Peter 2:15, 17
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you …17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

It was not until I listened to Ben’s sermon last weekend and started my research for today’s LIO contribution that I understood why it is so important to submit to authority. God calls us to submit to authority because God is the authority. He is the authority behind the authority. We are to submit for the Lord’s sake. It reflects poorly upon God when we disrespect those in authority over us. The only reason we should not submit would be if they go against what God has spoken in his Word. God’s authority trumps man’s authority every time.

1 Peter 2:18, 21
18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel … 21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you.

Acts 5:29
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

Questions:
Have you ever had a boss that treated you unfairly or with insolence? Did you repay them in a non-combatant or open-handed way, or did you retaliate by talking badly about them to your co-workers and family?

Next Steps:
Write a list of people in your life that have authority over you. If they have been unkind to you, journal ways you could sympathize with them. Realize that in honoring their position, you are honoring God.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus on 1 Peter 3 today. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, help me to trust that you will take care of things when I believe I am being unfairly treated by those in authority. Grant me wisdom to know how to make a difference in my world. Show me how to be humble so I may be sympathetic to others. I pray for the ability to model the Gospel by bearing injustice without vengeance. In Christ’s name, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


My Temporary Home

This is my temporary home
It’s not where I belong
Windows in rooms that I’m passin’ through
This is just a stop, on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this is my temporary home.

This is the chorus to Carrie Underwood’s song “Temporary Home.” It is her way of teaching about heaven to those who may not be familiar with the Christian faith but are familiar with her genre of music. It is Christian yet fringes on the edge of secular to introduce the idea, hopefully, to everyone in her wide audience.

My husband and I have lived in the Toledo area for thirty-eight years. To some, that may be a short period of time; to others who are younger, like my children, it is a lifetime. Our family has occupied the same house for thirty-one of those years. When our kids were still little, our neighborhood was full of families of different heritages, faiths, and customs. It was a learning experience for both the children and us adults. Often the lessons were easier for the younger ones than for the adults. The children usually “played well with others!”

The benefits were that my children, as well as the other children in the neighborhood, were exposed to others who were different than themselves. I see them being much more accepting and able to embrace those differences. They often are more likely to H.O.N.O.R. those with different beliefs.

Living in this temporary home can often make Christ followers feel like foreigners. When we are surrounded by those who believe differently than we do, we have a great opportunity to treat them in such a way as to bring honor and glory to God.

1 Peter 2:11-12
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Questions:
Do you find it difficult to H.O.N.O.R. those who are different than you?

What does it mean to you that your conduct may help someone else “give honor to God when he judges the world” (1 Peter 2:12)?

Next Steps:  
Reach out and honor someone different than yourself. Reflect on how the experience impacted your relationship with God.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus today on 1 Peter 2. We encourage you to read through this chapter in your Bible. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. You can download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings you have given me! Help me be a blessing to others, reaching out to those who are different! Amen.


This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study, a Lead Mentor Mom for Momentum, and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law and three grandsons.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


The Golden Rule

There was once a very old man whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at the table he could hardly hold the spoon and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth.

His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in a wood bowl. And he used to look toward the table with his eyes full of tears.

They were once sitting when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. ‘What are you doing there?’ asked the father. ‘I am making a little trough,’ answered the child, ‘for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.’

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.

(Adapted from The Old Man and His Grandson by The Brothers Grimm)

 

This story is a great example of the “golden rule” in action. We are challenged to switch places with whomever is on the receiving end of our actions. The command to treat others the way we want to be treated can be found in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31.

In this weekend’s message, Ben pointed out that often the golden rule is not the reality that drives our treatment of others. Instead, we treat people the way they treat us. We become a judge, administering treatment to others based on what we think they deserve. Other times, we act with prejudice and treat others the way we think that they will treat us.
­­­

While we are called to treat others with honor, if we simply try to live that out on our own, it becomes exhausting. But, when we know where we belong, we are free to honor everyone always.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

We are God’s very own possession! We are part of his family! When we receive that truth, we can begin to live graciously different lives, and we can honor everyone.

This weekend, Ben shared with us an acronym to help us define honor.

H = Humble– keeping your wants, ego and perspective in check.
O = Open Hearted– connecting with others without agenda
N = Non-Combatant– able to disagree without drawing blood
O = Open Handed
– looking for opportunities to bless and be generous.
R = Receptive– understand that every time we are mistreated it is an       invitation to trust God.

1 Peter 3:8-9
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Questions:
In your relationships, do you most often find yourself treating others the way you want to be treated or the way they treat you?

We prejudge when we treat others the way we think that they will treat us. Who are the people in your life that you prejudge?

Next Steps:
When I know where I belong, I am free to honor everyone! Read 1 Peter 2:9 and journal about what it means to you to be God’s very own possession!

Also, each day this week, we will spend time in one chapter. Today, we will focus on 1 Peter 1. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for adopting me into your family and giving me a place to belong for eternity. Help me to find comfort and confidence in that truth so that I can H.O.N.O.R. everyone always.  In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


A New Creation

We love stories about being different, stories that use a character’s uniqueness to make him or her succeed. Look at Disney’s character, Moana, who was told to stay away from the water, but was drawn to it. Her curiosity for oceanic adventure is what eventually saved the whole island. Miguel (from Coco) loved music even when he was forbidden to listen. Yet his love for music reunited a family. Anne of Green Gables was ridiculed because she thought outside of the box, but her different-ness created more positivity in her town. Peggy Olson (Mad Men) started as a secretary but wasn’t fitting in with the other women. This gave her the boldness to reach for high-paying positions traditionally filled by men. And my favorite: Luke Skywalker, who started out as a kid on a farm who was looking to the stars, hoping to be a pilot. His itch for something bigger led him to save the galaxy.

We all know what it feels like to be different. It’s uncomfortable. We should know by now that it’s OK, great even, to be different than the rest of the world. As Christ followers, we are different. In fact, we are made completely new.

2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Ephesians 4:21-24
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

It’s not always easy to stick to “different” convictions. Moana and Miguel feared getting in trouble with their families, Luke faced temptation from Darth Vader, Peggy and Anne dealt with girls who tried bullying them into “normalcy.” We want our characters to stay different, because we can see the whole picture and the value of their different-ness. God is watching your life, rooting for you to stick to your convictions and live out the new life that he made available to you. More than that, he empowers you, through the Holy Spirit, to live the life he is calling you to. You are not alone.

When we become a new creation in Christ, we are called to a new way of doing life. Our behavior, thoughts, and motivations should look differently from how we used to be and from the culture around us. When we embrace the fact that we are foreigners in a foreign land (Exodus 2:22), we can live intentionally out of place by preparing our minds, shaping our conduct, focusing our will, and remembering the cost.

 

Questions:
Describe a time in your life when you felt out of place. Was it because of Christ-driven convictions or something else? What did you do?

What benefits do you think can come from others noticing a Christian, a new creation in Christ, acting differently than everyone else?

Next Steps:
Make a list of areas that you have felt convicted to change in your life after becoming a Christ follower. Now list some barriers or temptations you face when trying to stay “different” in these areas. Then, think about and pray over ways to stay different as God’s new creation.

Today, we complete 1 Peter by going through 1 Peter 5.

Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Dear God, you call us to be different, to be your new creations. Help us to be leery of the temptation to remain stuck in the way we used to be. We know that when others see the differences in our lives, it can work as a catalyst to bring the gospel into their lives. Help us to see these opportunities and to be your hands and feet on this earth. Amen.


This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a former nurse who is now embracing her role as a stay-at-home mom. She is married and has a daughter and a son. She loves writing for this team, and feels she grows a great deal through writing and listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. She hopes to help convey God’s message through this study.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Remember the Cost

Yesterday, we talked about focusing our will on living in holy relationship with God while still dealing with daily life on earth. Why? Because long ago, he called us to be holy.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a person among us capable of accomplishing that on our own. We need Jesus as our standard bearer to lead us in our quest to stay in holy fellowship with God.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (The Message)
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.

Peter gives us wise counsel: Keep God at the center of our life. Not just a part of our life, but the very motivation for everything we do while we visit here on Earth. Thankfully, Peter goes on to tell us how to do that, namely never forget nor take for granted that most terrible price Jesus paid to save us from our much-deserved punishment for our sins. Remember the cost. The price was so great that no man could ever pay it. Without Jesus, we would have been doomed to eternal separation from God. Peter encourages us that by staying focused on Jesus and his once-for-all perfect sacrifice for us, we will be able to stay humble, grateful, and focused on whose we are and where we belong – with him.

How do we stay grateful for Christ’s sacrifice on a daily basis? Spend time reading the Gospels. These eye-witness accounts are the history of Jesus’ life and words and how he came to stand between us and eternal darkness and regret. HE is the ultimate motivator for using our time here to serve and obey God enthusiastically while we’re waiting to go home.

Focusing on the world, what we want and what we don’t have will only make us unhappy and unfulfilled and put distance between us and the one who loves us best: God. Instead, by staying focused on how very much God loves us and “who” our home really is, we will be able to live every day we’re here to please him instead of ourselves.

 

Questions:
What do you focus your desires and demands on? Why?

As a Christ follower, do you agree with Pastor Calvin as to where our attention really belongs? If not, why not?

How often throughout the day do you remember the cost that Jesus paid?

Next Steps:  
Spend time in the Gospels reading about the life of Christ and what he said about how we should live as children of God.

Remember all this will pass away. Stay focused on your destination and your destiny.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus on 1 Peter 4 today.

Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for saving me from a pointless life and a horrible forever. Please Lord, forgive me for all the times I forget to be grateful and help me to set my eyes on you and living as you would have me live during my visit here on Earth. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


This post was written by Martha Preckler. Martha loves Jesus and growing closer to him every day. She loves serving on the Sparkle Team and Greeter Team, as a Landing Leader, GrowthTrack hostess, and fill-in writer for LIO. Martha is the grateful mother of two grown sons and one daughter-in-law. Both sons are good writers, but one is a published urban fantasy writer and self-proclaimed grammar dictator, which he swears he picked up from his mother. She has been a Toledo Business Journal contributor, speech writer, as well as creator of dozens of promotional pieces for seniors’ events and programming offer by the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Focus Your Will

Have you ever felt out of place? My husband and I have taken our children to visit close friends in the Dominican Republic three times. On our most recent trip, we visited the beach. I have a great photo of my blond-haired, blue-eyed son (he was 4 at the time) making a sand castle with a group of Dominican children. A few days before the beach trip, he had asked me if “everyone in this world spoke Spanish?” That was the first and last comment he made about the language barrier. I thought it was beautiful that being so obviously out of place did not affect him socially at all.

As Christ followers, fitting in may not come so naturally, and for good reason. Today, we will look at Dr. Calvin Sweeney’s third suggestion for living intentionally out of place: Focus Your Will.

1 Peter 1:15-17 (NIV)
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

Our will is the faculty by which we decide on and initiate a course of action. As Calvin pointed out, we should choose holy living based on Scripture (v. 16) and based on future judgment (v. 17).

At first glance, the call to “be holy” can seem intimidating, and so can final judgment. We know that God is holy and that he is set apart from the rest of creation. Peter wrote earlier in this chapter that the Spirit has made us holy (v. 2). In this verse, Peter is calling us to make choices that reflect who we already are. As Christ followers, we are called to change our conduct to reflect the identity that God has already given us (NOT to change our conduct to earn our salvation).

 

Questions:
What would it look like for you to live a holy life?

Does knowing that God is judging your actions encourage you?

What can you do to set yourself apart?

Next Steps:
Think about your actions today and this week. Focus your will on living a holy (set apart) life.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus on 1 Peter 3 today.

Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
God, thank you for your example of holiness. Please help me to make choices that reflect who I already am in your eyes. Please help me to set myself apart from this world. Amen.


This post was written by Meghan Yarnell. Meghan is an art teacher and artist. She is married and has a son and daughter.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Shape Your Conduct

The moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we experience a life change that is nothing short of seismic. It is not surprising, therefore, that this spiritual awakening is frequently described as a “rebirth.” In acknowledging God as our Father, we are, in fact, born again — to him.

As one who experienced this awakening as an adult, my acceptance of Christ was particularly liberating. I was freed from the daunting illusion of responsibility for controlling my life. I was unshackled from the spiritual restlessness and doubts that had been constant, unwelcome companions for decades. And, I was granted the redemptive embrace of God’s love.

This liberation, however, is not just a freedom from; it is also a freedom to. In accepting Christ, we are also accepting a heightened responsibility for our actions. As we receive God’s love and forgiveness, we must also let go of the ignorant behaviors that preceded our awakening. No longer are we to be governed by our selfish whims and desires, for we now know that God calls us to act intentionally by shaping our conduct.

In the second week of the Out of Place series, guest speaker Dr. Calvin Sweeney, pastor of The Tabernacle Toledo church, shared that when we know we’re meant to be different, we can live intentionally out of place. Today, LivingItOut examines the second of Dr. Sweeney’s four suggestions for living intentionally out of place: Shape Your Conduct.

 

1 Peter 1:14 (NIV)
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

 

Sadly, forgoing the temptations of a self-centered life can indeed seem “out of place” in today’s society. All around us, we witness examples of people who rationalize selfish behaviors in pursuing a life of consumption. Of course, Christ followers are not immune to these temptations. But, we know that despite the internal and external pressures we face, God desires us to be holy. And this compels us to steel our mind against the lures of sin, relying on the Holy Spirit to give us the necessary strength.

As we’ve been exploring in the Out of Place series, 1 Peter speaks eloquently to the importance of shaping our conduct by redirecting our mind to focus on God’s priorities. The Baker Bible Commentary observes that “God calls us to be different, because he is different,” adding, “if we are God’s, we will begin to bear his likeness in every aspect of life.”

Shaping our conduct is an essential element of bearing God’s likeness and living our faith. In short, when we say “yes” to the Father, we must say “no” to our old ways of living to satisfy our own desires.

 


Questions:

Are you living your faith intentionally, or merely rationalizing “good intentions?”

 

What steps can you take today to shape your conduct more intentionally?

 

Next Steps:

Set aside time this week to consider how your conduct aligns with God’s calling to be holy and separate from the rest of the world. As you read 1 Peter, note the author’s emphasis on the challenges and necessity of living our faith intentionally. The business of shaping our conduct is not easy, but it is an essential and worthwhile component of our walk with God.

As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus today on 1 Peter 2. We encourage you to read through this chapter in your Bible. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. You can download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love, your grace, and your holy example. Grant me the wisdom and desire to shape my conduct and to step boldly into living “out of place.” Amen.


This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media


Prepare Your Mind

When people meet me for the first time, they usually notice two things: I am very tall (5’10”) compared to most American women, and I have an accent. Well, there is a good reason for this — I am actually a foreigner living in a foreign land. I have done so for more than half my life. I was born and raised in Germany, then spent over a decade living in New Zealand, and came to the U.S. about 16 years ago. My accent is a mix of German, New Zealand British English, and North Carolinian twang. I picked up the last one by having lived in the South for several years before ending up in Ohio.

If having lived in three countries on three continents has taught me anything, it is that it is OK to be different from those around me. You can maintain your identity and do not have to fit in if you accept your differences from others and theirs from you. You can cherish what they bring to your life by being different, and you can diversify their lives by openly sharing with them who you are.

Last weekend, we heard from Dr. Calvin Sweeney about what it is like to live as a foreigner in a foreign land. His message was “when you know you’re meant to be different, you can live intentionally out of place.” He gave us four things that we can do to live intentionally out of place. Today, we will cover the first step: Prepare Your Mind.

1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

Peter is encouraging his audience to think soberly and think hopefully. Remember, they were living in fear that they might be the next victims of Roman persecution. Peter is encouraging them to be watchful, calm, and ready as they look forward to the day when Christ will return and make all things right again. By preparing their minds in this way, these early Christ followers could live intentionally out of place in a world that did not feel like home.

 

Questions:
Have you ever felt like a foreigner in a foreign land? How did you feel different from others? How could you use your differences in a positive way to connect with others, and maybe even connect them with God?

Next Steps:
Make a list of things that make you different from those around you and circle those that you could use to connect positively with others. Make a list of the ways that most people around you are different from you and circle those that you would like to hear more about from them.

Also, each day this week, we will spend time in one chapter. Today, we will focus on 1 Peter 1. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for making us all so different from one another. Please help me to recognize and appreciate how I am different from others and how they are different from me. Please help me find ways to prepare my mind to connect with others, who are not like me, in a positive way. Amen.


This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Lutheran church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters and a wonderful man who loves the Lord.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Memory Verses
Weekly Discussion
RightNow Media