Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.15.11

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WEDNESDAY— Trick or Treat? Jacob the Deceiver
Big Point: Faith means obeying God no matter how we feel, what we think, or what might happen. When we practice falsehood in any form, like Jacob did, we are revealing an ‘unredeemed’ area in our life.

Bob Harris, weatherman for NY TV station WPIX-TV and the nationally syndicated independent Network news, had to weather a public storm of his own making in 1979. Though he had studied math, physics and geology at three colleges, he left school without a degree but with a strong desire to be a media weatherman. He phoned WCBS-TV, introducing himself as a Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia U. The phony degree got him in the door. After a two-month tryout, he was hired as an off-camera forecaster for WCBS. For the next decade his career flourished. He became widely known as “Dr. Bob.” He was also hired by the New York Times as well as by other businesses as a consulting meteorologist.

Forty years of age and living his childhood dream, he found himself in public disgrace and national humiliation when an anonymous letter prompted WCBS management to investigate his academic credentials. Both the station and the New York Times fire him. His story got attention across the land. He was on the Today Show, the Tomorrow Show, and in People Weekly, among others. He thought he’d lose his home and never work in the media again. Several days later the Long Island Railroad and Bowie Kuhn announced they would not fire him. Then WNEW-TV gave him a job. He admits it was a dreadful mistake on his part and doubtless played a role in his divorce. “I took a shortcut that turned out to be the long way around, and one day the bill came due. I will be sorry as long as I am alive.” (Nancy Shulins, Journal News, Nyack, NY.)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Genesis 31:19-22 (New Living Translation)
19 At the time they left, Laban (Jacob’s father-in-law) was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household gods and took them with her. 20 They (Jacob and Rachel) set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. 21 Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the territory of Gilead. 22 Laban didn’t learn of their flight for three days.

John 8:44 (New Living Translation)
44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Genesis 31:19-22. It’s almost shocking to read about the amount of deception and trickery in Jacob’s story. If you had to think about the various sayings about wrong-doing (ex. “two wrongs don’t make a right”), which ones come to mind when you think about the different deceptions in Jacob’s story?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Very few people ever set up to intentionally engage in deception—it can happen, but most people really try to do the right thing. However, deception comes in many different forms and has many different consequences.

What is the most deceptive thing that you’ve done?

What lesson did you learn? In the story at the beginning of today’s study, you read about a man who passed himself off with better credentials than he actually had. When we stretch the truth about ourselves (lie) and fail to live authentically, how does that impact our spiritual growth and relationships with others?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
The Bible tells us that we must worship God (live out our faith) in spirit and in truth. Are you living a life that is based in God’s truth—both about who He is and who you are? Confess to God any areas where you have been deceiving yourself.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Judges 12-16
12:6 “Shibboleth…” The method used for discovering an Ephraimite was the way in which they pronounced this word. If they mispronounced it with an “s” rather than an “sh” sound, it gave them away, being a unique indicator of their dialect.
13:3 “the Angel of the Lord…” In this case, it was a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Himself.
13:5 “Nazirite…” The word is from the Hebrew “to separate”. For rigid Nazirite restrictions, such as here in Samson’s case, God gave three restrictions: 1. No wine. 2. No razor cutting the hair. 3. No touching a dead body. Such outward actions indicated an inner dedication to God.
14:1-4 “She’s the right one for me…” The Philistines were not among the seven nations of Canaan which Israel was specifically forbidden to marry. Nonetheless, Samson’s choice was misdirected. Samson sins here, although God is sovereign and was able to turn the situation to please Him. God used this situation to achieve the destruction of these people, not by an army, but by the miraculous power of one man.
15:15 “killed a thousand men…” God gave miraculous power to Samson for destruction, but also to show the fearful Israelites that He was with them, in spite of their lack of trust.
16:4 “loved Delilah…” Samson’s weakness for women of low character and Philistine loyalty reappeared. He erred continually by going to her daily, allowing himself to be trapped by her deceptions.
16:17 “If I am shaven…” Samson’s strength came from his unique relation to God, based on his Nazirite pledge. His long hair was only a sign of it. When Delilah became more important to him than God, his strength was removed.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.14.11

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TUESDAY— The Supplanter
Big Point: When we set aside God’s authority and put our own in its place, we supplant God – and that’s never, ever good for us.

Here is an excerpt from Pastor David Swensen: “For sons and daughters in biblical times, receiving their father’s blessing was a momentous event. It gave these children a tremendous sense of being highly valued by their parents.” It did wonders for their self-esteem. At a specific point in their lives they would hear words of encouragement, love and acceptance from their parents.” In our text, Isaac was getting set to pass on his blessing to his eldest son Esau. Jacob got wind of his father’s plans, and he deceived his father into imparting the blessing to him.”

In addition to being known as a “heel-grabber,” Jacob would also be known as a “supplanter” after he hijacked Esau’s birthright and blessing. Jacob schemed and stole what wasn’t his to take. However, before we judge Jacob too harshly, we must realize that we, too, are supplanters. Scripture tells us that God wants us to put Him first in our lives, but how often do we put other people and things in the position that God is supposed to have in our lives? Why would we do something like that?

Supplant is defined in the dictionary as:
• take the place of; displace or set aside.
• take the place of by unfair methods or by treacherous means.
• remove from its position; get rid of; oust

READ…What does the Bible say?
Genesis 27:36 (New King James Version)
And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?

Matthew 6:33 (New Living Translation)
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Genesis 27:36. By this time, Esau has lost both his birthright and his blessing at the hands of Jacob. In this passage, Esau is speaking to his father out of desperation and frustration. How did Jacob’s scheming and selfishness impact his brother?

More about Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the Kingdom” of God refers to our quintessential quest in life, seeking Christ as Savior and Lord. By Lord, we mean He is ruling our hearts, minds, and actions, including our motivations and desires. So, we seek what is best, as He has our best at hand. When we just look to ourselves (supplant), we miss His golden opportunities and goodness.
The will of God is not just a task, or an end to find, nor is it just a set of goals; rather, it is a hunt, and a journey. The action of seeking Him and His plan is His Will! This is the hunt and the journey that produces the principles that grow and mold us in faith and maturity (1 Peter 5). It never ends; it is always continuing until our life ends. (from intothyword.org)

If you are familiar with the story of Jacob and Esau, you might have a lot of sympathy for Esau, who behaved foolishly and sold his blessing for a bowl of stew. Still, Jacob supplanted Esau in this situation. Why?

Read Matthew 6:33. This verse contains some very wise counsel that can help us keep God in the rightful place in our lives. How does this verse tell us to do that?

LIVE…What will you do now?
What are the different ways that you have supplanted God’s authority in your life?

When you review that list, can you think of the reasons why you would supplant God?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Take time to meditate on Matthew 6:33. Read through the verse slowly a few times and think about what it really means. Ask God to reveal any additional area where you are supplanting His authority in your life. Ask forgiveness for supplanting God and ask God for the conviction to put Him first always.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Judges 7-11
7:5 “those who lap the water…” There was not any military reason as to why a particular person was chosen. By using this as a means of selection, there was not any reason for human pride. The end result is that God was given all of the glory.
7:18 “For the Lord and for Gideon…” This is a demonstration of the power of God in harmony with the obedience of man.
8:20 “Jether…kill them” Gideon desired to place a great honor on his son by killing the enemies of Israel and of God.
8:22 “rule over us…” The Israelites sinned by the misguided motive and request that Gideon reign as king. To his credit, the leader declined, insisting that God alone rule.
8:30 “many wives…” Gideon fell into the sin of polygamy, an iniquity tolerated by many but which never was God’s blueprint for marriage. Abimelech, a son by yet another illicit relationship, grew up to be the wretched king in Judges 9. Polygamy always resulted in trouble.
10:10 “we have sinned against you…” Confession, followed by true repentance.
10:15 “do to us whatever seems best…”Genuine repentance acknowledges God’s right to chasten, so His punishment is seen as just and He is thereby glorified.
11:1 “a mighty warrior…” In response to their repentance, God raised Jephthah up to lead the Israelites to freedom from their eighteen years of oppression.
11:29 “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah…” The Lord graciously empowered Jephthah for war on behalf of His people. This does not mean that all of the warrior’s decisions were of God’s wisdom.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.13.11

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Series: Vintage Faith
Jacob

For an Old Testament Bible study, the life and history of Jacob can speak to everyone. Found in the first book of the Bible, Genesis (‘the beginning’), Jacob is one of the Biblical fathers out of which Israel, and later Christianity, flows. In short, to study the life of Jacob, and breach the gap of a few thousand years, we have to read ourselves into the shoes of Jacob wherever they fit.

Jacob means “heel-grabber, “supplanter,” or “deceiver.” He definitely lived up to his name! Jacob was the picture of someone only interested in enriching his own life. He was the picture of the consumer fattening himself at the expense of others. He was his own “master and commander”, focused on achieving and attaining everything he felt he deserved or was entitled to. Aren’t many of us the same— needing and wanting at the expense of others? We only have to look at kids to know selfishness is part of our human nature, and that we all struggle with “control” issues.

Jacob’s focus on his own ambition led him to trick his brother Esau out of both his birth-right and his blessing. Jacob’s self-reliance, greed, and dishonesty caused him to: flee from home, almost get killed by his brother, become his uncle’s indentured servant, and almost lose everything. All of this hardship eventually worked to humble Jacob—stripping away his pride, selfishness, and false sense of security.

Isn’t hardship, most often, the place where we end up finding God?Isn’t that the place where needs and wants for self are exchanged for needs and wants for others? Hopefully it’s the place where we realize we can’t do it all alone—that we need God! If it is, then it also becomes the place where God can bless, restore and transform us.

Eventually Jacob did go back home to face his past, but he didn’t arrive until after he wrestled with God. Having attempted to get everything he could on his own, it wasn’t until he was alone in the desert that God could really get a hold of him. It was there that Jacob finally admitted who he really was and submitted himself to God. He allowed God to change his heart, his focus, and his priorities. Here God changed Jacob’s name to Israel—to confirm his personality and attitude change. Only then could he receive the blessings God had in store for him and be a real blessing to others.

When reading ourselves into Jacob’s shoes we need to ask ourselves some tough questions: Are we positioning ourselves for God’s blessing and providence, or are we too busy chasing empty dreams of temporal status and wealth? Are we deceiving ourselves or others in an attempt to “get to the top”? Are we worried about getting what we think we’re “entitled” to? Finally are we a blessing to others, or a curse?

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL FOCUS ON THE LIFE OF JACOB.

MONDAY — Hairy and the Heal-Grabber
Big Point: Jacob spent a lot of time scheming to get what wasn’t his. The name “Jacob” means “heel-grabber” or “one who grabs the heel.”

From the beginning, Jacob was trying to get what was not his…
You and I would never do anything like this, right? Wrong. This downward pull of something for nothing and sense of entitlement is very attractive to our “lower” self. This base part of us is always seeking the greatest possible pleasure, and the avoidance of pain, with the least amount of effort.
Those of us interested in spiritual growth want to know the meaning of life, death, God, disease, etc. We want to understand and express the life of spirit. However, how much effort are we willing to put into it? Most would love to just be able to read a book or two and get enlightened between episodes of Desperate Housewives. This is not how it works.
What’s wrong with something for nothing and the entitlement mentality? Simply put it lacks integrity. It brings out the worst in us, that pushy, grabby, ‘I want it and I want it now,’ part of us that seeks to shut down the Holy Spirit influence that God has so graciously gifted us with. (excerpted from blog by Brendon McPhillips)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Genesis 25:24-26 (New Living Translation)
24And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! 25The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau. 26Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob…

Hosea 12:3 (New Living Translation)
3Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (New Living Translation)
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Genesis 25:24-26. Envision two babies being born, one newborn hanging onto the heel of another. If you think about the euphemism, “hot on his heels,” that would describe the birth scene. What hints about Jacob’s personality could we draw from his birth?

When we read Hosea 12:3, we get the idea that Jacob was a man who liked to take matters into his own hands. What is it about the verse in Isaiah that can temper the urge in us to struggle for control of our circumstances?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever thought of yourself as (or accused of being) a control freak— someone so scared that things aren’t going to end up just “so” that you scheme and plot in an effort to create a “self-designed” outcome.

How often do you demand your way in pursuit of your agenda (or throw an “adultsized tantrum”)? How do you know when you are pushing for your way?

When you think about how it is up to God to decide what we will and won’t be blessed with in our lives, how do you feel about where you are at in life right now?

When you look at the big picture, who do you see as really in control of the details of your life? What are some steps you can take to lessen any control issues that you are struggling with in your faith?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Just as God knew Jacob in the womb, He knows your every struggle. He never intended for you to fix yourself. Ask Him to reach into the depths of your heart and fill it with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Judges 4-6
4:4 “Deborah, a prophetess…” Deborah was an unusual woman of wisdom and influence who did the tasks of a judge, except for military leadership. God can and does use women mightily for many situations. Throughout the Bible there are very few more well- rounded leaders than Deborah.
5:1 “sang this song…” The song that Deborah and Barak sang was in tribute to God for victory. In the Old Testament God is often praised in the form of a poem or song.
5:10 “white donkeys…” because of the unusual color, they were a prize of the rich and kings.
5:11 “at the watering places…” The wells were a little distance from the towns and were often a place of quiet reflection.
5:31 The intercessory prayer committed to God’s will ends a song that has other aspects: blessing God in verse 2; praise in verse 3; affirming God’s work in verses 4 and 20; and voicing God’s curse in verse 23.
6:8 “the Lord sent a prophet…” God used prophets in isolated cases; Samuel, Elijah and Elisha are examples. Here the prophet is sent to bring the divine curse because of their infidelity.
6:18-23 Gideon, in the realization of the presence of God, felt extremely guilty for having doubt. Fire from God further filled Gideon with awe and even the fear of death. When he saw the Lord, he knew the Lord had also seen him in his fallenness. Because of all of this Gideon feared the death that sinners should die before Holy God. But God graciously promised life.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.10.11

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FRIDAY — Reflection

We’re at the end of this week’s LIO and so it’s time to reflect on the things that you’ve experienced during this week’s study.

• As you look back on this week’s study, what ideas/concepts were you challenged to think about the most?

• Reflect on the various verses that you read this week. Which verse was the most meaningful for you? Why? How has this verse impacted you?

• On Tuesday, we looked at the “Bystander Effect” and how people rarely break away from a group to take action. Yet, when someone does get involved, others usually follow. Have you identified an environment in your life where you need to break away from the crowd and stand up for your faith? How can you have courageous faith and display it in a way that honors God and demonstrates humility toward others?

• Were you able to think of different ways for you to live out your faith more courageously? Did you act on any of them? If so, how did it go?

WEEKEND REMINDERS:
• Dave Ramsey’s Life.Money.Hope – June 14 and 15.—Did you barely make it through the first half of the year financially? Do you want to improve your financial outlook for the second half of the year? In this two-day seminar, you will watch a three-part series from popular author, financial expert and top-rate television host Dave Ramsey. This seminar runs simultaneously with KidVille’s Summer Blast. Cost for Life.Money.Hope is $10 and includes book and course materials.
• Leadership Summit—Don’t forget to register for this year’s event! Special CedarCreek attendee discount rate still applies, but don’t delay! To register, go to www.cedarcreek.tv/summit for more information or to register.
• Annual Business Meeting—Want to hear about our annual budget or information about the plans for our church over the next year? CedarCreek’s annual business meeting is Sunday June 26 at 5pm at the Perrysburg Campus.

HomePointe Family Activity Section
Big Point: We are courageous and stand up for what we believe, it makes it easier for others to be courageous and stand up for what they believe as well.
Lesson: There are lots of people in our society who courageously stand up for what they believe. It’s always a great idea to talk as a family about what makes a person courageous, whether it was a courageous action or taking a stand for faith. The best time to have these conversations are when we hear any story of a courageous person or perhaps, taking the time to read a biography of someone who was bold and courageous enough to stand alone for what he or she believed in.
Activity: Answer the following questions:
1. Who is the most courageous person you know personally? Why did you pick that person?
2. What is the bravest or most courageous thing you have ever done? What did you learn about yourself when you chose to be courageous?
3. This week, we learned about Caleb and Joshua and how they courageous stood up for God when the Israelites were against them. In what ways can you let others know that you stand for God?
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the example of Caleb and Joshua. We pray that we will always be courageous and brave for You. We know that when we are courageous, others will be inspired to be courageous, too.

Living It Out: Scripture Memory JUNE 2011
Joshua 24:15 (New Living Translation)
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Living It Out
It is the dream of CedarCreek that everyone who calls this their church home will be reading and studying the same topics, both individually and in groups. Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.

Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses, are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.
Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message
Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the New Testament in a year
Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others
Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to barbr@cedarcreek.tv.

RESOURCES:
Daily Bible Reading Commentary compiled by Rick Kinney
HomePointe Family Activity by Chantele Henry

This week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study written by:
Barb Roose
Kate Roose
Sam Roose

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Judges 1-3
1:1 “after the death of Joshua…” Descriptions of the book’s setting in Judges 1 and 2 vary between times after Joshua’s death and flashbacks summarizing conditions while he was alive.
1:2 “Judah is to go…” The tribe received God’s first go-ahead to push for a more thorough conquest of its territory. The reason probably rested in God’s choice that Judah be the leader among the tribes. 1:6 “cut off his thumbs and big toes…” Removing the king’s thumbs and big toes rendered him unable to use a weapon and unstable on the battlefield. This made him unable to fight in the future.
2:1 “I will never break my covenant with you…” God would be faithful until the end, but the people would forfeit blessing for trouble, due to their disobedience.
2:12 “they followed other gods…” Idol worship, such as the golden calf in the wilderness, flared up again. Many different gods from the area’s inhabitants entered the life of the Israelites.
2:14 “In His anger against Israel…” Calamities designed as chastisement brought discipline intended to lead the people to repentance.
2:16 “the Lord raised up judges…” A judge, or deliverer, was distinct from a judge in the English world today. Such a leader guided military expeditions against foes. There was no succession or national rule. They were local deliverers, lifted up to leadership by God when the deplorable conditions of Israel in the region around them prompted God to rescue the people.
3:10 “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him…” Certain judges were expressly said to have the Spirit of the Lord come upon them. HomePointe

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.9.11

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THURSDAY—What is God saying to you?
Big Point: God is speaking to each one of us.

If you’ve been around CedarCreek for awhile, you’ve heard us talk about Bill Hybel’s book, The Power of a Whisper. We had the opportunity to hear Bill talk about his new book at our 15th anniversary celebration last October at the Huntington Center. The subtitle of The Power of a Whisper is “Hearing God. Having the guts to respond.”

Isn’t that so true? When we hear God speak into our lives, it usually means that we have to abandon our agenda and our plans for His plans. Furthermore, God’s plans usually require us to walk by faith, meaning that we have to leave the land of what we can predict and expect and step into the open and trust God’s character and faithfulness for our lives.

We spent the week talking about courageous faith, but as we enter into the final portion of this week’s study, we have to remember that it’s one thing to have courage, but it is another thing to have a courage that is grounded in faith and trust in God.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Galatians 5:25 (New Living Translation)
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Luke 9:23 (New Living Translation)
23 Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Galatians 5:25. What does it mean for us to follow the Spirit’s leadings?

In Luke 9:23, Jesus challenges his disciples to turn away from their established lives and follow him into the unknown. What kind of courage did it take for the new disciples to walk away from their families and lifestyles to follow Jesus?

From Bill Hybel’s book, The Power of a Whisper
“When people hear from heaven, they are rarely the same again. When the sovereign God chooses to communicate with someone— whether eight, eighteen or eighty years old— that person’s world is rocked.
Without a hint of exaggeration, I can boldly declare that God’s low-volume whispers have saved me from a life of sure boredom and self-destruction. They have redirected my path, rescued me from temptation and reenergized me during some of my deepest moments of despair. They inspire me to live my life at what boaters call “wide-open throttle”— full on!”

LIVE…What will you do now?
Usually, a “whisper” or leading from God is something that exceeds our ability to do on our own. While we’ve spent the week talking about having the courage to stand for our faith, we should also think about new roads that God might be calling us to courageously explore in order to build His kingdom and our faith.

While we’ve asked this question a few times in the last few months, it seems appropriate to ask it again: What has God been “whispering” about in your life lately?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Here’s an opportunity for you to write out a prayer to God about the things that you’ve been thinking about this week when it comes to the topic of living out your faith courageously. What do you think you need to do differently as a result of what you’ve studied so far this week? Commit those plans to God in prayer:

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 37-40
39:32 “so all the work…was completed.” Finally, the moment arrived when the different tasks assigned to various artisans were all completed, and the result was ready for formal presentation to Israel’s leader.
39:43 “then Moses inspected the work…” Fittingly enough, the one who had been with God on the mount and had passed on to the people the blueprints for everything connected with the Lord’s tabernacle personally inspected the work and confirmed its successful completion. “And Moses blessed them.” By this act, Moses set his final and formal seal of approval on the outcome of their earnestness and diligence, and expressed his prayer-wish that good would result to them from their God.
40:1-33 Finally, the time arrived for the tabernacle to be erected with the Holy of Holies and it’s accompanying Holy Place to the west, and the courtyard entrance to the east. In terms of pagan religions and their worship of the sun god, some significance might be seen in the high priest worshipping God with his back to the rising sun. All who entered the courtyard also turned their backs to the rising sun as they came in to sacrifice and worship.
40:17 The tabernacle was completed almost one year after the Exodus from Egypt. The people were at the foot of Mt. Sinai at that time.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.8.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 6.8.11.

WEDNESDAY—Courage comes when we are courageous!
Big Point: We don’t need to pray for courage. We just need to be courageous and then, we will have courage!

Spc. Ross McGinnis was traveling in a Humvee convoy in Northeast Baghdad. His convoy’s mission was to patrol the streets as well as find a place to put a 250-kilowatt generator that would provide electricity for over 100 homes.

While stopped on the street, an insurgent dropped a grenade from a rooftop above Spc. McGinnis’ Humvee, which was last in the convoy. McGinnis was manning the vehicle’s machine gun. He yelled “grenade” and prepared to jump out of the truck according to those in his vehicle.

However, Spc. McGinnis realized that no one else would be able to get out of their positions soon enough to escape without injury or death, so instead of saving his own life, McGinnis threw his body against the grenade and smothered the explosive with his body. The grenade exploded as soon as McGinnis covered his body with it, killing him instantly. The others in the vehicle survived the explosion.

John 15:13 says that the greatest love we can have for others is when we lay down our lives for them. It takes courage to put someone else’s needs above our own because we are naturally wired to seek fulfillment of our own desires and wishes. Courage doesn’t come naturally. It only comes when we act courageously.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Corinthians 16:13 (New Living Translation)
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

Psalm 27:14 (New Living Translation)
14Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Psalm 31:24 (New Living Translation)
24 So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!

Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

THINK…Find the answers
In 1 Corinthians 16:13, the Apostle Paul is summing up principles for powerful living for the oft-wayward Corinthian church. Look at each of Paul’s short admonitions. How are they related with each other?

LIVE…What will you do now?
We all want to think that we could be as courageous as Spc. Ross McGinnis. However, we never know if we are courageous until the moment that courage is needed arises. At that moment, we don’t have a lot of time to decide if we are going to be courageous—we either act with courage, or we don’t.

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? Why did you decide to act? How did you feel once the situation was over and you could reflect on your actions?

When is the last time you took a stand for your faith? (Ex: inviting someone to church, sharing your faith, standing up for injustice, tithing, giving up a sinful pattern of behavior) Why did you feel compelled to act or speak? How did that act of courage change you?

If you haven’t taken a stand recently, could there be an opportunity for you to try again? If so, what would you do?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
We could pray for God to give us opportunities to be courageous, however, those opportunities are all around us. We just have to pray and ask God for a fresh perspective on the new ways He wants us to live out our faith with bold courage.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 33-36
33:7 “the tabernacle of meeting…” In the time prior to the construction of the tabernacle, Moses’ tent became the special meeting place for Moses to talk intimately with God.
33:12-17 Again, Moses entered earnestly and confidently into the role of intercessor before God for the nation whom he again referred to as “Your people.” Moses clearly understood that without God’s presence they would not be a people set apart from other nations.
34:1 “cut two tablets of stone…” Renewal of the covenant meant replacement of the broken, original tablets on which God had personally written the Ten Commandments.
34:29-35 The first time on the mount, unlike the second, had not left Moses with a face which was reflecting some radiance associated with being in the presence of the Lord for an extended period of time.
35:1- 40:38 In this section, the Israelites constructed the tabernacle as God so prescribed in chapters 25-31.
35:30- 36:1 The Lord also gave the two named artisans skill in teaching their trades. This substantiates that they were, most probably, the supervisors or leaders of the construction teams.
26:2-7 The people, stubborn and disobedient at times, nevertheless rose to the occasion and voluntarily brought much more than was needed for the building of the tabernacle.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.7.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 6.7.11.

TUESDAY — Don’t let your “but” get in the way!
Big Point: We cannot let excuses keep us from standing up for our faith.

The “Bystander Effect”
In group situations people do not tend to feel personal responsibility to act. However, whenever one person does decide to take action in a situation, others usually act as well.

In March 1964, Kitty Genovese arrived home in the early hours of the morning and was stabbed repeatedly by an attacker. Her screams were heard by her neighbors, yet no one came to her aid. Kitty’s attacker left, yet came back to savagely stab and sexually assault her until finally killing her with a fatal wound on his third and final separate attack. Yet, not one of Kitty’s neighbors came to her aid until after she was dead.

When the police conducted interviews, 38 individuals admitted to hearing Kitty’s chilling screams for help and they all admit to not coming to her aid. Lots of excuses were given: they feared for their own safety, they worried their English wouldn’t be understood when talking to the police and one heartless person merely said: “I was tired.”

Kitty’s murder sparked new psychological research into what is now called the Genovese Syndrome or “Bystander Effect.” It’s so easy for us to just try to “go with the flow” or maintain status quo in our relationships at home or work. Being an “Undercover Christian” means that we can look like everyone else in the crowd. However, we never know who might be inspired to live out his or her faith just by watching us being courageous enough to live out ours.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Numbers 13:27-28 (New Living Translation)
27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!

Matthew 9:36-38 (New Living Translation)
36 When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Numbers 13:27-28. Circle the word “But” in verse 28. What was the attitude in the first part of the verse versus the attitude in the second part of the verse? What were the differences between how Caleb and Joshua reported the situation versus how the other 10 explorers interpreted the situation?

In Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus was traveling to town after town preaching the gospel and pointed out the need for disciples to carry the gospel messages to those who were lost and hurting. Why is it so important to have “workers” who are willing to stand up for their faith and reach out to others? Why does Jesus say there are so few workers?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Whenever we sense God calling us to take a stand for our faith, the word “but” can often get in our way, causing us to delay in being obedient. Choosing to stand with God doesn’t always require a large crowd as a witness, only your resolve to obey. In what area of your spiritual life do you need to follow God more courageously?

Can you think of some steps that would be involved in your decision to follow God with great courage in a particular area of your life? List those steps below:

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Hopefully, you were able to reflect on any “buts” in your life that have kept you from courageously living out your faith. If you are ready, tell God that you are ready and willing to demonstrate courage in that area of your faith. If you aren’t ready, ask God to keep reminding you of His faithfulness until you are ready.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 29-32
29:20 Daubing blood on the right ear, hand, and big toe symbolically sanctified the ear to hear the Word of God, the hand to do the work of God, and the foot to walk in the way of God.
29:45 “I will dwell…” That He would be their God and they would be His people was one thing; but that He would also dwell with them was a very important reality in the experience of the new nation.
30:18-21
“bronze basin…” The washing of hands and feet was mandatory before engaging in priestly duties. Again, the seriousness of being ceremonially purified is seen in the warning of death if this washing is neglected. Nothing casual was being done in the sanctuary or out in the courtyard.
30:22-33 Nothing was left to chance or to human ingenuity. The ingredients for making the anointing oil were carefully spelled out. Using anything different was totally unacceptable and brought with it the penalty of death.
32:1 “make us gods…” The Israelites, in a time of panic or impatience, succumbed to a pagan worldview. What made it more alarming was the rapidity with which pagan idolatry swept in despite recent, real-life demonstrations of God’s greatness and goodness toward them.
32:4 “a molded calf…” The young bull, which Aaron caused to be fashioned, was a pagan religious symbol of virile power. In worshiping the calf, the Israelites violated the first three commandments.
32:7 “your people…” In alerting Moses to the trouble in the camp, God designated Israel as Moses’ people, a change of possessive pronoun Moses could not have missed. Beforehand, God had acknowledged them as “My people.”
32:19 “broke them…” Moses pictured the nation breaking God’s commandments by actually breaking the tablets on which they were written.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.6.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 6.6.11.

Series: Vintage Faith
Joshua & Caleb


If you’ve been doing the CedarCreek Old Testament Daily Bible Reading, you have been reading about the Israelites’ exit from slavery in Egypt in dramatic fashion. Since God’s chosen people had been freed, their next stop was supposed to be The Promised Land—known as a place “flowing with milk and honey.” Now, there wasn’t literally going to be milk and honey all over the ground—that would get kinda sticky and gross. The Promised Land was a place set apart by God for the Israelites to rebuild their lives and their community. However, the Promised Land was already occupied with other inhabitants that had to go before the Israelites could move in.

From the very beginning of the Israelites’ journey, God promised them a land that would be a blessing to them as well as for generations to come. However, God’s promises were forgotten by the majority of the explorers once they became fearful of the inhabitants of the land.

During this weekend’s message, we explored differences between the courageous faith of two of the explorers, Joshua and Caleb, versus the fearful, cowardly response of the other ten explorers.

By definition, courage is doing something difficult, even when we are scared; or courage can be our decision to stand up for something even though we are being pressured to conform or do nothing. Joshua and Caleb might have seen the giants in Canaan, but they decided to believe God’s promise to give them that land. Unfortunately, they were alone in their decision to stand up for God. Can you identify with their situation?

Some of you are courageous enough to attend CedarCreek each week even though no one else in your family will come with you. Perhaps, you are the only person in your office who dares to read a Bible during breaktime or a lunch hour. It’s hard to be courageous when everyone else seems to be against you, but that is the very courage that God calls us to display. However, we don’t have to worry about those who stand in opposition to what we believe because the Bible tells us in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” There is always going to be those who stand in opposition to our faith, but their combined power and influence isn’t enough to move a flea’s wing when compared to the incredible power of God working in us and through us.

In each of our lives we have an opportunity to stand for something at some point in our lives. Being courageous doesn’t mean that we wait until it is easy to act, rather courage is taking a stand and acting when the pressure is most intense.

IN THIS WEEK’S STUDY WE WILL EXPLORE JOSHUA AND CALEB’S GREAT COURAGE UNDER PRESSURE.

MONDAY — Vintage Faith=Courageous Faith
Big Point: We cannot develop high quality faith without being courageous.

Courage: Acting even when you are scared; standing up for something even though you are being pressured to do nothing or conform.

On October 21, 2003, a young 13-year girl named Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a violent shark attack off the coast of Hawaii. A talented surfer, Bethany started riding the waves when she was just a toddler and by eight years old, Bethany was competing in surf contests.
During the attack, Bethany was critically injured. She was rushed to the hospital to endure several operations and her left arm had to be amputated. Many people thought Bethany would never surf again.
But, they were wrong. Nineteen months after the shark attack, Bethany won the 2005 NSSA National Surfing Championship and many other awards since then.
A committed Christ-follower, Bethany believes that God is using her story to inspire others and share Christ with them. Her story came to the silver screen earlier this year in the movie, “Soul Surfer.” Bethany’s courage gave her the determination never to give up and she has continued to trust in God and reach for her dreams.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Numbers 14:6-10 (New Living Translation)
6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 10 But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb.

Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

THINK…Find the answers
Numbers 14:6-10 tells the frustration and despair of Joshua and Caleb after the Israelites decided to believe the ten explorers who believed that they would be crushed by the inhabitants of the Promised Land versus trusting that God would give them victory.

In the passage, Caleb and Joshua tried to remind the Israelites of God’s what?

What evidence did Caleb and Joshua have to prove the case for God’s faithfulness? In verse 10 we read about how the entire community decided to turn against Caleb and Joshua. Why do you think they turned against the two men?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Living the Christian life takes tremendous courage! Especially since there are so many influences that woo us away from living out our faith. Can you think of a time when you should have taken a stand for your faith? What happened? What should you have done differently?

Our core beliefs and values are revealed when we are under pressure. While we think that peer-pressure only applies to teenagers, we have to realize that peerpressure is highly influential at any age. When do you sense a great pressure to back off your commitment to live out the Christian life and “go with the flow?”

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
It’s easy for us to look at the circumstances in our lives and become worried or afraid—yet, God calls us to be courageous because He is on our side. What giants are threatening your life right now? Spend some time reflecting on God’s record of faithfulness in your life and then talk to God about how you are doing when it comes to living out your faith courageously in places where you are tempted not to.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 25-28
25:2 “an offering…willingly…” Voluntarily and freely the people were given opportunity to contribute to the nation’s worship center from a list of fourteen components and materials needed.
25:9 “tabernacle…” The first five books of the Bible record five different names for the tabernacle: “sanctuary,” denoting a sacred place or set apart; “tent,” denoting a temporary or collapsible dwelling; “tabernacle,” denoting the place of God’s presence; tabernacle of the congregation,” and “tabernacle of the testimony.”
25:16 “the Testimony…” This is the designation for the two tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments.
25:18 “cherubim…” Forged as one piece with the golden cover of the ark were two angelic beings rising up on each end and facing one another.
27:1 “altar…” The largest piece of equipment, also known as the “altar of burnt offerings,” was situated in the courtyard of the tabernacle. Like other pieces of furniture and equipment, it was built to be carried by poles.
27:16 “gate of the court…” The curtain forming the covering for the entrance way into the courtyard was colored differently from that which surrounded the oblong courtyard. Clearly there was only one way to enter this very special place.
27:20 “pure oil of pressed olives…” The clear oil from crushed unripened olives granted almost a smoke-free light.
28:3 “gifted artisans…” This was the first reference in God’s instructions to Moses that certain men would be especially empowered by God to work skillfully on this construction project.