Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.19.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.19.12.

Do you ever just want to get away from it all? The job, kids, bills, crazy relatives—and just fall off the grid for awhile. While there may be 168 hours in a week, many of us feel like we are trying to jam in 200 hours worth of living. Why isn’t 168 hours enough? Why are we always in such a doggone hurry? It’s okay to be busy, but why are so many people—perhaps you—feeling strung out by overwhelming schedules?

As conscientious humans, we chase the myth of the “balanced life” – the idea that we can achieve “scheduling nirvana,” thereby eliminating any schedule-induced stress. We must face the cold hard facts: there is no such thing as the balanced life! Why? Because life is filled with unscheduled situations and contradictory priorities.

Check this out: “Even what everyone agrees is good for you can seem to contradict itself. For example, how do you both get enough sleep and make every minute count? And how do you floss regularly, eat eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day, drink lots of water, exercise at least thirty minutes at least three times a week, attend religious service regularly, belong to groups that matter to you and attend their meetings, keep up with your friends, work your job, do the laundry, pay taxes, have sex at least once a week, deal with the pressure of relentless uncertainty and change the oil in your car every three thousand miles without possessing the powers of a miracle maker? No one knows. From corporate strategies to child-rearing theories to personal health to money management to career expectations, uncertainty rules.”

With all of the pressure and obligations of this life, it’s no wonder that so many of us want to follow Lenny Kravitz’s song and just “Fly Away.” Sure, it’s tempting to think about walking away from the stress of our lives. But most of us won’t go because we don’t want to leave behind the good stuff that sometimes gets buried with the bad. So, what would happen if we just did a better job using the 168 hours given to us this week?

In this weekend’s message, we learned that putting God first is the key to getting life right. When we follow God’s priorities, then we experience clarity in establishing our priorities and creating our schedules. Remember when Lee talked about “putting the big rocks in first”?

During your Bible study this week, you will be challenged to allow God to shape (or re-shape) your priorities. You will also be given an opportunity to think about what activities “fill” your emotional, physical and spiritual tank as well as which activities “drain” those tanks. By the end of this week’s Living It Out Bible study, you should have a greater sense of God’s direction for how you spend your time—and hopefully, you’ll experience the blessings of “Down Time.”

So let’s get started!

 

It’s okay to be busy…but, are we busy doing the wrong things?

 

MONDAY — What are You Living For?
Big Point:
Do you need to rediscover your priorities?! 

Get up. Go to work. Go home. Go to bed. Get up. Go to work. Go home. Go to bed. Get up. Go to work. Go home. Go to bed. Does this sound familiar? Are you busy? What are you so busy doing? If you’re living for earthly possessions, self-recognition or the praise of others, these are all vain pursuits. Filling our lives with endless pursuits of whatever will make us happy is like a dog running in a circle chasing its tail—we never truly find lasting satisfaction, even when we achieve our goals. What matters is that we figure out what’s most important and that we figure out how to live “centered lives” instead of trying to figure out how to wrestle the mythical “balanced life.”

If you feel overly stressed out from your schedule and think things are out of your control, you’re right. And since you can’t control everything, isn’t it better to rely on a God who can? Your busy schedule may have to stay busy, but you can have peace knowing you are busy doing the right things instead of the wrong ones.

READ & THINK…Find the Answers
God has a lot to say about how we need to prioritize our daily lives. What does Romans 12:1-2 say to do with your everyday activities?

 Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Answer:

Even people who know nothing about God understand that there should be a difference between someone who lives for God and someone who is enthralled with our culture. Instead of adjusting to the culture around you, what should your attention be fixed on according to Hebrews 12:2?

Hebrews 12:2 (New Living Translation)
2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Answer:

Chasing success has been called many different things—and we can each have our own definition of what “success” looks like. However, what does Jesus want us to realize in Mark 8:36?

Mark 8:36 (New Living Translation)
36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

Answer:

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever asked yourself this question – “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36)  What do you feel you’ve accomplished in the world? How do your accomplishments measure up to what God considers important?

 

There’s nothing wrong with being successful—or even wealthy. God wants us to work hard and fulfill our obligations to our families and our jobs. However, we have to be aware of our motives behind our daily activities. Is your day-to-day life being placed before God or is it honoring something or someone else?

 

Look at your checkbook, schedule and how you spend your time…this may give you a good idea of what you are truly living for. If you asked your spouse or close friends what you live for, what would their response be?

 

Do you have a life mission statement? A life mission states your life purpose, beliefs and values. Try to write out what you believe your life stands for.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Now that you’ve thought about a life mission statement for yourself, write it into a prayer. Ask God to help you to achieve purpose in your life and to help you rediscover your priorities.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.16.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.16.12.

FRIDAY —  The Multiplier Effect Starts With You
Big Point
: When you believe that the church is never too big, you will see the multiplier effect happen right before your eyes. That equates to changed lives!

Most economists, and perhaps you, also, are familiar with the multiplier effect and its ability to stimulate economic growth. It goes a little something like this—if a company builds a factory in a town, that will help boost economic growth because that company will need to employ workers, get suppliers, and, in return, restaurants, and other service industries will benefit. And as a result, growth happens!

Speaking of a “multiplier effect,” have you ever heard of Amway’s growth model (multi-level marketing)? Their theory is that when an individual gets a person to “sign up” as a distributor under them, that person will get another, or perhaps two people to sign up under them; and so on and so forth. Over time, the business multiplies or grows and everyone benefits. Growth happens!

What if we all believed in the multiplier effect as it relates to the lives “hanging in the balance”  between eternal life and eternal damnation? Do you remember when Lee held up a rope with a ribbon tied in the middle but we could not see either end? That rope represented a life. When we merely do good for the sake of doing good things and don’t spread the gospel, we simply affect the ribbon. But, when we do good things and spread the gospel, we affect someone’s eternal life. A simple invitation to church could greatly impact that one life. And that one invitee could impact another life by inviting someone or two others to church. What if those two people invited two more people to church? And those two people invited two more? What would happen over a ten year period? Well, growth would happen—big time!

What if we all wholeheartedly believed in the multiplier effect, also known as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), and we became diligent and unapologetic about inviting people to church? Amazing growth, right? Do you get the picture? Do you see the multiplier effect happening? Who ultimately benefits? Each and every individual life benefits. Do you see how it all starts with you? Let’s do this!

 

If we do all of the things we should do by helping society as a whole but  neglect the primary purpose of God we are guilty of a catastrophic, cataclysmic eternal whiff!
Lee Powell

Review and Think …

Today, let’s stop and take a moment to think about our home church, CedarCreek Church, and why we do what we do. CedarCreek does not do what it does to benefit CedarCreek Church. A simple review of the Mission Statement proves who actually benefits. Let’s read it together—CedarCreek’s mission is to:

… Help spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others, and tell the world about Christ.

Who benefits from this Mission Statement? Each and every life who gets the privilege of an invite to CedarCreek Church. Ultimately, the Kingdom of God benefits.

Do you see why we are willing to do everything short of sin to try and get individuals to come to church? While we believe people should participate in causes that help society as a whole, to root out injustice, and to heal society’s ills, we ultimately believe the cause of the church is the greatest cause on the planet. If we do a whole bunch of good things in life (as we should), but ignore the primary purpose of the gospel, we’ve missed the entire point of life.

Speaking of doing something short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ, our next series is “Happy Hour.” We encourage everyone to pick up an invite Happy Hour “Coaster” and use this as a means to invite people to church.

But, before we close today, take some time to read Matthew 5:16 and write out what this verse means to you and how you can help spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Matthew 5:16 (New Living Translation)
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Answer:

Are you speaking and living in a way that will draw people to Christ? If not, what will you begin doing differently today to help the cause of Christ and the mission of CedarCreek church?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you believe in and actively take part in the multiplier effect that can happen right here at CedarCreek church. Ask Him to help you go out with bold faith to make a simple invite and share your faith!

 

Weekend Updates!

  • If you are 18-24 years old, something special is planned for you tonight:  Attend the “Worship Experience” tonight, Friday, March 16 from 7-8:30 at the South Toledo campus.
  • Did you write out who will you invite to “Happy Hour”? If not, you’ll want to be thinking about that this weekend. Our next series begins the week of March 17th and 18th. We’ll kick off the series with a message about  “Down Time.” Be sure to pick up some “Happy Hour” coasters on your way out of church this weekend.  Then, be prayerful and mindful about your invitees and pray that the multiplier effect happens with each person changing one life at a time.
  • Men’s Courageous Bible Study: The Men’s Courageous event took place last week and it was a huge hit. Now, the fellas are going to start a men’s Bible Study starting this Saturday, March 17th at 9am at no cost at every campus. Feel free to contact Wade Sobczak at wades@cedarcreek.tv for more information.

Living It Out: March 2012
“But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgement by the truth I have spoken.”
John 12:48


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 Bible in 1 year—Old and New Testament will alternate month to month.

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 DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

 

RESOURCES:
The New Living Translation Bible

 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Alyssa Baker
Cynthia Savage
Emily Goldsmith
JoAnna Studer
Ryan Wilson

 


 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.15.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.15.12.

THURSDAY —  We Are Sent to Invite People
Big Point:
 When we invite others to church to hear the biblical message about the gift of grace through Jesus Christ, we are helping them with the first step to salvation.

She came to the well in the noonday sun, during the hottest part of the day to avoid the wagging tongues of her fellow townspeople. Broken, mixed up with the wrong crowd, the poor woman from Samaria had quite a reputation. She had been married five times and was living in sin with a man who wasn’t even her husband.

Jews did not travel on Samaritan roads, but the Anointed One chose this route anyway. Jews did not regularly converse with Samaritans and men certainly did not make conversation with women. Yet, Jesus came upon the well, where he met the sinful woman, and asked her for a drink of water. The Samaritan woman understood her low social status in the eyes of a Jewish man and was astounded by his request. Jesus continued to reveal her sins and spoke about the living water of grace that could refresh her soul if she asked.

The Samaritan woman’s spirit was enlightened by Jesus. She was astonished that he could truly be the Messiah and rushed back to her village to tell her family and neighbors about this man at the well. She was so excited that she even left her water jar! The people took her up on her invitation and streamed from the village to the well to see this man she raved about. As they listened to Jesus, they believed he was the Savior and begged him to stay awhile. The Bible reveals that he stayed two days, long enough for many more to hear the message and believe.

Even though you are flawed with sin, possibly broken like the Samaritan woman, you can respond to Jesus and invite others to the well to hear his words. The simple act of inviting others to church can lead to their salvation!

READ & THINK…Find the answers
The following scripture from John 4 describes the Samaritan woman’s response to Jesus at the well. Think about the simplicity in her act of invitation. In these verses, what are some signs that reveal how excited she was to tell others about him? How did the village respond?

John 4:28-29 (New Living Translation)
28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

John 4:30,39 (New Living Translation)
30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him. 39Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”

 Answer:

John 4:40-42 concludes the story about the Samaritan woman. What trickle down effect did her invitation ultimately have on the people in the village?

 John 4:40-42 (New Living Translation)
 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Answer: 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Do you sometimes go through life hiding from others as the Samaritan woman did because of the shame of your sins? What may be holding you back from the fellowship of others? Take the time now to confess these sins and accept the gift of grace from Jesus Christ.

Who can you invite to “come to the well”? It may be a co-worker, friend, cousin, or even the barista who hands you your latte every morning. Write their names down in the space below. Have you invited them before? Jot ideas down for opportunities to hand them an invite card (or Happy Hour coaster!) and ask them to come to one of the physical campuses or the i-campus.

 

The Samaritan woman did not have her life figured out, but she knew she needed to tell others about Jesus. She had gone to the well to retrieve water, but left her jar when she ran to the village announcing that Jesus was at the well. Parallel stories in the Bible tell us about the apostles, who also abandoned everyday pursuits, whether fishing nets or tax collection tables, to immediately respond to Jesus. Are you holding onto something that is preventing you from inviting others to church? What can you leave behind?

 

John 4:28 also tells us that the Samaritan woman ran back to the village. She was enthusiastic in her approach. What do you love about Jesus? What part of CedarCreek are you the most excited to share with others? How can you tell others so they will come and see what you are so eager about?

 

Take it a step further and assemble the necessary tools to share your faith by attending the “Go Fish!” class already underway at your campus (class started March 12th). Simply contact wades@cedarcreek.tv to register then pick up your participant workbook for only $8 at the Source bookstore.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal who God would have you invite to church. Pray for this person (or people) and ask God to open their heart to the invitation. Praise God for the work He will accomplish through the message they will receive.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.14.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.14.12.

WEDNESDAY — Jesus Sends Us With Power
Big Point:  Jesus gives us the power to do what he asks us to do; we just have to know where to find it and how to use it.

Imagine a day where you are awakened by the birds outside your window and the music actually inspires you. One of those days you feel you could do or say no wrong. On this day, you have the power of confidence, and rest has prepared you for your day. It’s one of those rare days in which the time moves according to the tasks at hand and everything gets done with time to spare. We have all experienced a day like this in our lifetime, although we know just how rare these days are. Now imagine if you had more days like this. Can you imagine the power of your days and how you could affect the world around you?

How do we live with more days like this? Where do we find this power and just how big is it? In Greg Laurie’s devotional, “The Explosive Power of Pentecost,” he writes, “When Alfred Nobel discovered an explosive element that was stronger than anything the world had known at the time, he asked a friend and Greek scholar for a word that conveyed the meaning of explosive power. The Greek word was dunamis, and Nobel named his invention ‘dynamite’.”  Dunamis is the same word that Jesus used in Acts 1:8 to describe to his disciples the type of power the Holy Spirit would bring.

This power doesn’t come from our activity. It comes from the Holy Spirit. We could get more accomplished in a day’s work powered by the Spirit of God than we could ever accomplish in a lifetime on our own. To use the Spirit in our days we must avoid the “Christian Cocoon” or the “Biblical Bubble”. We should not isolate ourselves from the culture with this power but infiltrate it. The job that Jesus gave the disciples was absolutely colossal. They were to bring every corner of the world to the foot of the cross. During that time, 120 Christians came to be known as     people who turned the world upside down. This power of the Holy Spirit dramatically changed the world, and still can.

READ & THINK…Find the answers
Can you imagine the disciples’ reaction when Jesus spoke in Acts 1:8?  They were outnumbered 30,000 to 1 in Palestine alone. Do you think they felt a little bit overwhelmed, especially after watching as Christ ascended into a cloud and finally disappeared?

Acts 1:8 (New Living Translation)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Answer:

According to Luke 19:26, what happens when you use well what you have been given? What happens when you do nothing with what you have been given?

Luke 19:26 (New Living Translation)
“Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Answer:

LIVE…What will you do now?
This power for your life will come as you pray. For ten days the disciples prayed. Ten days of prayer plus a few minutes of preaching led to three thousand saved souls. Perhaps we invert these numbers. We’re prone to pray for a few minutes and preach for ten days. How can you schedule time in your life devoted to prayer?

 

In the book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes about a character who is   trying to keep a person away from God. The character tries to do everything to make this person not believe in Jesus and to make him lukewarm and too busy with other things. Are you sometimes too busy to really enjoy the birds that soon will sing every morning with spring arriving? Even if the Spirit is inside you waiting to be used, do you have margin—in other words, enough time—to do it effectively throughout your day? How can you plan margins in your day to allow this power to be used by Christ?

 

The Bible makes it crystal clear that God wants us to go, but to go without Him is to go without power. What can you do every day before you leave the house to make sure God’s power is a part of where you’re going?

 

When we receive the Holy Spirit we realize the church does not exist for us, but we are the church and we exist for the world. The local church is the hope for the world, and every believer needs to be an active part of it. It all started with 120 Christians who made an impact that is still felt today. We have many more resources and can spread the word at the speed of light. We can’t imagine the power they must have had. Could they have dreamed of the power we have today?

 

If we all worked at this and actively used the power we find in Christ, how different would our world be? How different would our country be?

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Challenge yourself for the rest of the week. Every day before you leave the house thank Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit to empower you. Ask Jesus to send you out with His power. Ask the Spirit to guide you throughout your day and to give you  opportunities to share God with the people around you. Pray for the strength to   invite somebody to church today.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.13.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.13.12.

TUESDAY — Jesus Sends Us—All of Us!
Big Point: It’s not enough to wish others well on the journey. We must go ourselves. 

It’s tempting to think of telling about Jesus as someone else’s job. After all, there are pastors, staff members and missionaries whose paid job is to spread the Good News. We might think, “Let’s leave it to the pros.” It’s also possible to believe that the other jobs and services we perform for the church exclude us from walking right up to someone and inviting them to church. We might say to ourselves, “I’m  already serving the church by tithing. Those dollars go to advertisements, so I’m getting the news out that way.” Another mind game that some of us play is believing that telling others about Jesus is just not talent we possess. Perhaps evangelism was at the very bottom of the list when you took your spiritual gifts test. We might think, “It’s just not my thing.”

For some of us, inviting someone to church takes us out of our comfort zone. We don’t want to have an awkward conversation or risk being rejected because it makes us uncomfortable. However, as we heard from Lee’s message, the truth is that every Christian has been called to tell the news of Jesus. It’s part of the territory and a great responsibility that we need to accept because there are people out there who need to hear the good news. It’s true that in the Body of Christ, individuals have been empowered with certain spiritual gifts that allow them to perform amazing tasks in the Church. But in each and EVERY Christian, the Holy Spirit waits to empower us with the ability to share our faith.

Just as Jesus told the disciples, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Jesus is with us as well. When he asks us to go and share the gospel story in this world, he does not send us alone. He is with us, supporting us and doing the real work of transforming people’s lives. Jesus wants to work with us to bring everyone to faith in him.

READ & THINK…Find the answers
What commands and promises does Jesus give and make in verse 19 and 20 of Matthew 28?

Matthew 28:19-20 (New Living Translation)
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Answer:

Yesterday we read from Galatians 4:4-5 about how God sent His Son to buy freedom for us so that He could adopt us as His very own children. What does    Galatians 4:6 go on to say that God has sent specifically to us and where did He send it?  What are we to do in return?

Galatians 4:6 (New Living Translation)
6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”

Answer:

LIVE…What will you do now?
Write out the top 5 primary concerns you have about sharing your faith.
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

What questions, reservations or fears do you have about helping others become disciples?

 

Do you ever find yourself saying, “I do enough—I serve, I tithe and I do other things. I don’t feel obligated to go out and tell others about Him. I’ll just put my money toward tithing and that will pay for advertisements to tell others about Him?” If so, why do you think that Jesus tells all Christians to tell others about him instead of leaving that for the church or the so called “well-trained professionals”? What does this tell us about what is most important to God?

 

Think back, for a moment, when you were a child in trouble. You likely called out to your mother or father, in a desperate plea for help. Knowing that God sent the spirit of His Son to reside in your heart, as described in Galatians 4:6, should provide you much comfort. If you don’t feel this comfort, perhaps you are not calling out to your father as this verse says we should be prompted to do. Think about the struggles you may be facing with sharing your faith. Describe how often you call out to your “Abba Father.” If you are not being prompted to call out, what do you believe may be stopping you?  Your faith? Your belief that God can and will do what He says He can do? What could it be?

 

Taking this a step further, in Matthew 28:20, Jesus promises to be with us always. Does knowing that Jesus will be with us at all times help embolden you to come out of your comfort zone when it comes to sharing your faith? If not, explain why.

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you realize that you are specifically called and sent by Him and that you play a major role in sharing the gospel, and that is most important to God!

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.12.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.12.12.

Have you ever watched the show What Would You Do? You know, the one that puts people in awkward situations to see what real people will do. The real person may witness what they think is someone shoplifting or leaving their child in a car or cheating on their spouse. Then the cameras record who reacts and how they react. If you haven’t seen it, check it out by visiting this website: http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/.

No matter how ridiculous or contrived the set ups may be, the premise is interesting. What would it take for you to involve yourself in the life of someone else, maybe a total stranger? And really involve yourself, maybe in something sort of sticky, difficult, personal. Because that is the most difficult part, right? Putting ourselves out there. Getting involved in something that doesn’t seem like it is our business.

On the show, it seems that most people just watch what is happening. They may discuss it with a friend or give some funny looks, but they don’t confront anyone or address the problem. But then there are a few people who do intervene, who stand up for a child who is being treated poorly or a shop owner who is being yelled at by an unreasonable customer or a girl whose boyfriend is using abusive language towards her.  What would it take for you to become involved?

We started off our God series by talking about who God is—all-powerful, unchanging, eternal, everlasting. Then we tackled the tough subject of God’s judgment and its consequences and the reality of what will happen to all who do not know Christ. In the last few weeks, we have delved into what God does for us, how we interact with Him, and how our relationship grows—God speaks to us through His holy word, God gives us the desires of our hearts, God transforms us—working from the inside out, pressing and molding us like clay in His almighty hands.

Take a minute and let the truth of these last few weeks really sink in. God, creator of all things, who is incomparable in power and goodness and love. God who sets the stars in the sky and knows each of them by name, this incomparable God came to you. He offered you freely the gift of salvation through the blood of His son. He has invited you into an intimate, personal friendship with Him. He listens to everything you say and He gives you everything you need. Our heavenly Father, our rock, our shelter, our shepherd. More than that, He has given you His Spirit to live and work within you, helping you overcome things you never imagined you would ever be able to overcome. In Him, you have tasted true freedom. Your chains are gone. Forever.

Now, take a moment to look at the people around you. Do the people who work next to you, live across from you, take care of your children, take your money at the coffee shop, or do your hair know this life-giving truth? Are you sure?

 

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.  It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes
Romans 1:16

 

MONDAY —  God Sent Jesus Into the World
Big Point:  God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins, to bring salvation to the world.  

Unlike most of us, Jesus seemed to know exactly who he was and what he was sent here to do at the young age of 12. Can you imagine as an adolescent, having it all figured out and knowing exactly what you wanted to do with your life? At that age, most of us wanted to be a teacher, a firefighter, a doctor or a nurse, or maybe we had dreams of being a superhero, but very few knew their own identity, let alone what their purpose was in this world.

When Jesus was just 12 years old, he did not return with his family but stayed in the temple in Jerusalem, talking to the religious leaders and asking them questions. After searching frantically for him for three days, Mary and Joseph asked him why he was there and Jesus simply looked at them and said, “But why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s House?” (Luke 2:49). Jesus understood his identity and purpose at a young age and spent the rest of his life teaching others about God. He was fulfilling God’s plan and obeying God. Jesus eventually called others that were willing to become fishers of men and spread the gospel. They went with him everywhere, netting not just fish, but men and women for the kingdom of God.

How can we imitate Jesus’ commitment to God’s word? Do we consider ourselves to be modern day disciples? Most of us don’t want to step out of our comfort zone and talk to others about God. We must realize that we are not unlike Jesus in the fact that God expects us to be about His business. Jesus is God’s    ultimate sign to us that He loves us. Yes, God loves us! It is the greatest message we will ever hear. He not only tells us of His love, but He shows us in many ways. Because He gave His Son, through Him, we will gain eternal life. God wants everyone everywhere to know His love. We can be a big part of God’s plan for calling others. Even small conversations that we don’t think about again can be seeds that God will water and grow into beautiful faith.

READ & THINK…Find the answers
God sent Jesus into the world for us. Read John 3:16-17. What was God’s motivation? Don’t rush past this question. He gave His son to a world that would brutally beat, crucify and reject him. Why?

John 3:16-17 (New Living Translation)
16For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Answer:

According to Galatians 4:4-5, when did God send His Son and for what reason?

Galatians 4:4-5 (New Living Translation)
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.

Answer: 

According to the verse below, whom did Jesus come to save?

Luke 19:10 (New Living Translation)
For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.

Answer:

LIVE…What will you do now?
God sacrificed His only begotten Son for us. Do you believe that God gave Jesus to save us from our sins? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and witness to others in spite of what people will think or say?

 

Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  What do you think it means that Jesus “seeks” people?

 

How would you define “the lost”? What does this tell us about the kind of people Jesus wants a relationship with?

 

Were you lost before Jesus found you?  In the space below, write 3-5 sentences about how God pursued you, loved you, saved you, transformed you!  Make it short and sweet!

 

Take on a challenge!
Isn’t it amazing that we get to be a part of God’s salvation plan?
Look for opportunities in your life where you can talk to others about God. Use the testimony you wrote above to share with others what God has done for you.
What is one time or place during your day or your week that you might be able to make this happen?

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Thank God for sending His Son and for the invitation to be a part of His exciting salvation plan. Ask Him to show you opportunities where you can share with others how God has worked in your life. Ask God to take away any fears or barriers that prevent you from sharing His love with others.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.09.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.09.12.

FRIDAY — Are You Ready to be Shaped?
Big Point: We resist giving ourselves fully over to God because we don’t see things from His perspective.

READ & THINK…Find the answers
Read and write out how Galatians 5:22-25 describes the outcomes of spiritual transformation.

Galatians 5:22-25 (New Living Translation)
22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and   desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Answer:

 

5 Principles of Spiritual Growth:
1. You are responsible for your own spiritual growth
2. Change is possible
3. Spiritual Growth happens best in community
4. Developing your desire for spiritual growth is key—when you are committed, you will win
5. The goal of the church is to   enable you to grow spiritually
(adapted from Ron Edmonson—July 9, 2009 blog)

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
At CedarCreek, we are very concerned about spiritual growth. You may have heard of, and even participated, in the REVEAL Survey. CedarCreek conducted this survey to find out what we thought God was calling us to do around here and whether it was making a difference in your life. Based on the results you provided, we think so.

There are certain things we measure at church, a few them include:

  • How many people raise their hands to let us know that they’ve asked Jesus into their hearts? (Hundreds of people each week raise their hands.)
  • How many people get baptized? (Last year, over 500 people!)
  • How many people are in Groups—LifeSupport, LifeGroups, Student Ministries, MOMentum—creating community? (We have over 300 Groups.)

Another thing we measure is Missional Membership. We have mentioned a few times that we analyzed the data last fall and know for a fact that Missional Members serve more and give more. We keep track of attendance, weekly giving and do    surveys twice a year to help us know if we are still reaching unchurched or spiritually restless—both groups who are far from God. Oh so important!

Why do we do this? To make certain that we are doing all that we can to equip you to experience the wonderful transforming power of God. But, the biggest most important question is: How do YOU know if you are growing spiritually? It has to be more than a feeling. We can’t tell you if you are growing spiritually. Only you know the answer. Start out by answering these questions:

1. Do you believe you are responsible for your own spiritual growth?

2. Do you believe that change is possible—specifically for you?

3. Spiritual growth happens best in a community of believers.  Are you connected in a community of believers?  If not, why not?

4. Are you committed to your own spiritual growth? If not, you’ll want to ask God for the desire to become committed.

5. Are you making yourself available to God’s transformative power in your life? Do you take advantage of the resources to help you learn more about God? If not, why not? Can we do better?  Let us know—email us at: dianap@cedarcreek.tv.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Keeping the Five Principles of Spiritual Growth in mind, ask God to help you in the    areas you need most—whether that’s taking responsibility for your own spiritual growth, knowing change is possible, finding community to help you grow, having a passion for growth, or praying for CedarCreek and their role in helping non-Christians and Christians alike grow in their relationship with God.

 

Weekend Updates!

  • Interested in learning how to share your faith?  If so, then “Go Fish!”  Andy Stanley is back at it again to share with us how we can share our faith and not “clam up.”  Starting Monday, March 12th, we will offer the 4-part class series       entitled “Go Fish” at every campus.  Simply go to The Source bookstore and pick up your participant workbook for only $8 and sign-up for the class by going to     cedarcreek.tv, and clicking on “get connected” and finding “classes and seminars.” Then, choose which campus you’d like to attend.
  • Men—Looking for ways to live more Courageously: Attend the “Courageous” men’s event scheduled for Saturday, March 10th from 9:00-1:30 at the South Toledo Campus.  The movie “Courageous” will be shown followed by a time of fellowship, discipleship, group discussion and a barbecue lunch.  The cost is $15.00 to attend and you can register for this event by going to       cedarcreek.tv and clicking on the “get connected” tab.
  • If you are 18-24 years old, something special is planned for you: Attend the “Worship Experience”  on March 16 from 7-8:30 at the South Toledo campus.
  • Who will you invite to the next CedarCreek series? Our next series, entitled “Happy Hour” begins the week of March 17th and 18th.  We’ll kick off the series with a message about  “Down Time.”  Be prayerful and mindful about who you intend to invite to this series.

 

Living It Out: March 2012
“But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgement by the truth I have spoken.”
John 12:48


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 Bible in 1 year—Old and New Testament will alternate month to month.

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 DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

 

RESOURCES:
www.SermonCentral.com

“The Life You’ve Always Wanted to Live
John Ortberg

 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Kaye Althaus
Rebecka Blevins
Tammy Kaiser
Rick Kinney

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 03.08.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.07.12.

THURSDAY — God Applies Pressure!
Big Point: God applies pressure to shape and mold different areas of our lives. We must trust that He knows what He is doing.

Have you ever seen a beautiful piece of pottery and given much thought to the process that this masterpiece had to undergo to become so beautiful? Take a moment to read about the road that this fine piece of pottery had to travel to become a wonderful and glorious piece of art:

  • All fine pottery starts out simple—as a lump of clay. That’s until a fine expert pottery maker gets a hold of that simple piece of clay.
  • With a firm swift pounding and patting, that lump of clay is twisted and shaped and then eventually gets put on a spinning wheel.
  • That clay just spins and spins and seems to be out of control; yet all the while, the expert pottery maker knows exactly what is happening.
  • Eventually, that clay is spun, bent and shaped even more until the expert maker decides the shape is exactly what he had in mind. And then, up goes the heat!
  • Just at the point when you think the clay is done, the expert knows that finely molded piece of clay must be put into the oven. We’re not talking a little heat—we are talking blazing hot heat to get the pottery just right.
  • After being “fired”, the expert takes that piece of pottery and puts it on a shelf so it can cool off to just the right temperature.
  • Once cooled off, the expert endures the nasty fumes that result from brushing and painting the piece of pottery to fine sparkling perfection.
  • But wait, it’s not done yet. Up goes the heat for a final baking.
  • The result—one beautiful fine piece of art—oh what a wonder!

Can you relate your life to this piece of pottery? If you can’t, perhaps you aren’t allowing God to apply just the right amount of pressure. Can’t you hear God    speaking to us about the pressure he needs to apply to our lives. He’s likely saying “I know it will hurt to be rolled, pounded, patted, spun around, baked in a blazing hot inferno, enduring nasty fumes—but had I stopped and not applied the right color, you would have crumbled, you would not have had any color in your life.  And if I did not put you back in the oven the second time, you wouldn’t have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”

READ & THINK…Find the answers
God often treats us like a clay jar.  Write down the many ways that God applies the right amount of pressure as described in the passage below.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (New Living Translation)
7We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
To take a lump of clay from shapeless and uselessness, a potter must apply     pressure to create the shape the potter desires. Do you ever feel like God is    treating you like a lump of clay and applying pressure to your life? Describe the pressure that God applied to help mold your life into what you have become. Write some specific examples below.

 

Are you in the middle of God shaping you, or heating you, or painting you to make you the person He has in mind? What stage of the process are you in? Describe any emotions you may be feeling—confusion, anger, exasperation, hopelessness, fear of the future.

 

Real transformation is a process. It’s not about steps, it’s about being devoted wholly to something and allowing it to move you from one place to another. That process requires change. What changes do you need to make in your life to move toward becoming the person that God intends you to be?

 

Describe your level of willingness to allow God to make those changes and to continue His work in your life. Start out by circling where you are at on a scale from 1-10, 1 being unwilling and 10 being completely open to God and the changes He intends.

 

1 . . .2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . 6 . . . 7 . . . 8 . . . 9 . . . 10

 

After reading all that you have read this week, describe how willing you are to allow these changes to occur.

 

Do you have children, mentor anyone, lead a group or are you involved in shepherding someone toward Christ? If so, be prepared—practice how you will explain this “pressure” process to them and explain why it will benefit their life.

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Often we try to take care of life’s problems through our own efforts. Take some time and ask God to help; He’s actually waiting for you to come to Him!