Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.02.12

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WEDENSDAY — Are You Ready for Jesus to Return?
Big Point: The only way to be prepared for the Rapture is by believing in Him and accepting His free gift of salvation.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Marc Axelrod’s www.sermoncentral.com sermon entitled “Being Prepared for Christ’s Return”:

“There are two misguided attitudes that people today have about the [Rapture]. The first attitude is fanaticism. These are the people who think that every single thing that happens in the Middle East must be a sign of the end of the world. ‘Oh, no! There was a suicide bombing in Israel today. We’re one step closer to the great and terrible day of the Lord prophesied by Malachi! And I’m not ready yet! (sob, sob, sob)’ And I feel like saying, ‘Calm down. Have some milk and cookies. Take a deep breath.’

And then the other extreme is indifference. ‘People have been saying for 2000 years that Jesus is coming back. Blah, Blah, Blah… After all this time, I’m starting to wonder. And even if He is coming back, I seriously doubt He would come back during football season. I think I have a little time to work with here. So I’m going to go out this weekend and do whatever I feel like doing. It’s my life! I’m not going to let a few ancient Bible prophecies affect the way I life MY life!’

Somewhere in between the fanaticism of the first guy, and the faithless indifference of the second guy, I think we can figure out how Jesus wants us to live in the light of his return.”

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
How is our world today like that in Noah’s time? Are you more like Noah or his neighbors? Why?

 

Matthew 24:36-39 (New Living Translation)
36“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” 37When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and wedding right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

Answer:

 

How does Romans 6:23 say we get to Heaven?

Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord.

Answer:

 

The final destination of the believers is Heaven. Heaven is simply defined as where God is. It is a place of rest, of glory, of purity, of worship, of fellowship with others, and of being with God. Read Revelation 21:4—which of these descriptions of Heaven are you most looking forward to? (We’ll discuss heaven more on Friday.)

Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Answer:

 

In a recent leftbehind.com poll, the question was asked “Are you ready for Jesus to return?” Website polls are not statistically valid surveys, but they can be illuminating. Here’s how the responses broke down:

  • I’m anxiously expecting his return = 3812
  • I hope he comes during my lifetime, but not yet = 2023
  • I need to get ready = 565
  • I’m afraid I’ll be left behind = 639
  • I know I’ll be left behind, but I don’t know what to do = 193

More than 50 percent of respondents said “I’m anxiously expecting his return.” Nearly three in ten either had unfinished business or didn’t want to end their earthly good time just yet. Two out of one said either “I need to get ready” or “I’m afraid I’ll be left behind.” Another small group, about three in 100, said “I know I’ll be left behind, but I don’t know what to do.”

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
How would you respond to the poll above? Why?

 

Has that answer changed after listening to the weekend message and going through the LivingItOut? If so, how?

 

Christ promised in His word that He’s coming back. If you don’t know what to do to avoid being left behind, there’s hope. Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ to save your soul? Have you repented of your sin and called on Jesus to save you? Or will you gamble with time and run the risk of getting caught in the flood of His vengeance?

 

Has learning about the “end times” changed the way you plan to live today? How?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
For the 50 percent that are “anxiously expecting” Jesus’ return; thank God for this reassurance and gift of eternal life with him. For the other 50 percent, talk to God about your fears, your questions, your concerns. Ask Him for guidance and a mentor to help you work through these issues. If you’re ready to accept Jesus as your personal Savior, ask forgiveness for your sins and invite him into your heart.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.01.12

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TUESDAY– The Tribulation and Millennial Period
Big Point: Learn about the Tribulation period and understand why you don’t want to have to endure it!

As Christians, our goal is not to have to endure the Tribulation period. Yet still, it is important to know what will happen during that time period and what will happen in the years to follow so that you can explain to others why you believe the way you do and to encourage others to be just as hopeful to be Raptured up with Christ.

Here are some facts about the Tribulation period:

  • The Tribulation is a period of seven years that begins with the signing of the covenant between the Antichrist and Israel and ends at the Second Coming of Jesus. God sends judgments upon the earth to punish those who choose not to follow him.
  • Seal Judgments are the first and worst horrors of war, bloodshed, famine and disease that will strike the world’s people, particularly those who reject the Savior (Revelation 6:1-4, 13-17; 8:1-2).
  • Trumpet Judgments bring hail, fire and blood to one-third of the earth. Darkness descends on the sun, moon and stars by one-third. Great storms, earthquakes and hail cover the earth (Revelation 8:8-12; 9:1-9; 11:15-19).
  • Bowl Judgments is during the second half of the Tribulation with God’s anger growing as sin continues to worsen. Foul and loathsome sores and men scorched by the sun. Water turns to blood. Darkness covers the earth. Armies of the world destroyed at the battle of Armageddon. The Mark of the Beast begins (Revelation 13:16-18).
  • Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation period with the greatest earthquake in history (Revelation 16:17-21). False prophets and the Antichrist will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 16:2-21; 20:1-3).

 

Here are some facts about the Millennial Kingdom period:

  • The Millennial Kingdom period is 1,000 years of Christ reigning supreme over all the earth. Those who have died or were raptured will reign with Christ over the living during the Millennial Kingdom.
  • Creation will be restored to the way God had intended it, but not fully. There will still be sin and death. Sin will be dealt with quickly however, and death will be rare as the one who dies at 100 years of age will be considered a youth (Isaiah 65:20-25). During the Millennial Kingdom we see God complete His promises to Israel.
  • At the end of the 1,000 years Satan will be released from his bondage in the abyss and he will deceive many and gather them for battle against God’s holy city, Jerusalem. However, the battle will never take place as fire from heaven will devour them.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible
The Tribulation will be quite scary and the Doomsday Preppers think they can escape the difficulties of the Tribulation. But according to Revelation 6:15, will there be places to hide?

 

Revelation 6:15 (New Living Translation)
Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rules, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.

Answer:

 

Read Romans 20:2-3 to understand where Satan will be during the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Will he be free to roam earth and tempt people like he is presently?

Romans 20:2-3 (New Living Translation)
2He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.

Answer:

 

LIVE ..… What will you do now?
The title of Kyle’s message was the Second Coming of Christ and he spent time looking at the Rapture, Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom. How has thinking about the events that are yet to come affected your thinking today?

 

After reading these events, do you now understand the difference between the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ?

 

What questions are you still having about the Rapture, Second Coming, the Tribulation and the Millennial period?

Pray … God, what do you want to know and do?
Ask God to help you understand the facts surrounding the Tribulation and Millennial period so that you can explain why and what you believe. Ask Him to help you remain mindful of how you can strengthen others with what you know.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.30.12

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Doomsday Preppers is a television show on the National Geographic channel that explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as they know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations and strategies, “preppers” will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. People have learned to survive on bugs, created bomb shelters in their homes, hid food and practice drills for when the world is in complete chaos. The show makes for good entertainment, but what if there was an event that brought an end to the world, would you say you are prepared?

Eleven years ago, on the morning of September 11th, 2001, perhaps many people in the United States held this common thought: “Peace and safety. Nothing bad can happen to us. We’re the most powerful nation on earth. Our military and our intelligence can handle anything!” And then, under clear blue skies, when we were least expecting it, terrorists attacked. And before we knew what was going on, the Twin Towers came down and the Pentagon was on fire.

Perhaps you felt that same sudden shock and uneasiness as you sat through Kyle’s message this past weekend when the lights suddenly went out. That’s what it will be like when Jesus Christ returns—like a thief in the night. The unbelieving world will be completely caught off guard. Similar to September 11th, and just like you likely were when the lights shut off in service; people will be saying to each other, “What’s going on? What’s happening?” Luke 21:26 says that “Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world.”

September 11th is a reminder that no earthly government can guarantee peace and safety. The only way to experience real peace and safety is by welcoming the Prince of Peace (Jesus) into our lives and living each day of our lives for him. And since the Bible says that “no one knows the day or hour” (Matthew 24:36) when Jesus will return, we always need to be prepared.

What do you do when you know a visitor will be arriving at your home? You likely prepare—you clean up, scour every corner of your home and make sure your home is presentable as you await their arrival. We should feel that same sense of urgency as we await the Rapture by living our lives in a way that reflects Christ’s love so that we draw others to him.

In this week’s study, we will review the Biblical facts and prophesies about Christ’s second coming (the Rapture, Tribulation and the Millennial). But we won’t stop there. After all, none of the facts matter unless we accept Christ’s free gift of salvation and live in a manner expectant of Christ’s return. Prayerfully, this study will encourage you to spend less time building a “bomb shelter” and spend more time telling the world about Christ by using your gifts, talents and serving others.

 

However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Matthew 24:36

 

MONDAY — The Rapture
Big Point: Christians should feel a great sense of hope that they will depart from this earth in the Rapture.

The topic of when the world will end seems to draw a lot of attention and speculation. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples asked him when he will return. There is a lot of information swirling around these days about the “end times” and tons of people predicting the date when the world will end. Just insert “end times” in google.com and you’ll be busy reading. Some will say we are living in a “Pre-Tribulation” period and point to the way we exchange goods and services, where our economy and government seems to be globally headed, diplomatic struggles, wars, famines and more as proof of this.

While we can’t say with absolute certainty what period we are in, we can clearly say that we don’t know the day nor the hour of when Christ will return. The true sense of relief that Christians can agree upon is that they will be Raptured up with Christ. The Rapture is a moment when the faithful are “caught up” to heaven to be with Christ. Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians.

Let’s read the evidence that shows that the Rapture will take place.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible 

What promise does Revelation 3:10 say will happen to Christians who obey his command to persevere?

Revelation 3:10 (New Living Translation)
Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.

Answer:

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. When the Lord comes down to earth with a shout, who is the first to rise and what happens to those still alive?

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (New Living Translation)
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18So encourage each other with these words.

Answer:

 

In a 1989 Moody Bible Institute article, Dr. George Sweeting estimated that more than one-fourth of the Bible is predicative prophecy:

  • Both the Old and New Testaments discuss promises about Christ’s return. Over 1800 appear in the Old Testament, and seventeen Old Testament books give prominence to this theme.
  • Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return—one out of every 30 verses.
  • Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event.
  • For every prophecy on the first of Christ’s coming there are eight on His second coming.

 

After reading Matthew 25:13 and Mark 13:32, what can we say about Christ’s return and what we should do in anticipation of his return?

Matthew 25:13 (New Living Translation)
So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Mark 13:32 (New Living Translation)
However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
A survey was put together by Mark Ashton in Jesus and the End of the World. Every year someone predicts the end of the world. This was especially true in 2000, but such predictions seem to find their way into every New Year’s forecast. So far New Years’ Day makes it and the world continues on. After reading today’s Bible verses, why do you believe it’s futile to predict when the world will end?

 

Describe how you felt in the service this past weekend when the lights went out and Kyle’s video began to play? How do you feel now knowing that Christians will be raptured up to be with the Lord?

 

Describe how you can encourage people to learn about the Rapture and all you’ve learned today.

 

A man and wife asleep in bed.
She hears a noise and turns her head he’s gone.
I wish we’d all been ready.
Two men walking up a hill.
One disappears and one’s left standing still.
I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind.
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind
“I Wish We’d All Been Ready,”
by DC Talk

 

Pray … God what do you want me to know & do?
Thank God for making you aware of the Rapture and salvation through Christ and ask Him to give you the boldness and respectful faith to tell others about all you’ve learned.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.27.12

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FRIDAY — Be The Church: Live Missionally!
Big Point: We should all feel a deep yearning and burden to be “the Church.” Being the “hands and feet” of God can only come by living a “mission-minded” life.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of being so passionate about something that you yearn to influence others to be just as passionate about it? Perhaps you are a team leader at work, a coach, a teacher, a manager, a parent. You have an idea, you know it makes sense, you know it can positively influence your organization or someone’s life, and you want others to be just as passionate. At times, you may find that you are “talking to a wall” and perhaps not getting anywhere; yet, you persist. That yearning is the same feeling we all should have about our church because we are The Church.

Our prayer is that this week’s Bible study made you stop to think about whether you wholeheartedly embrace the fact that we all share a similar burden—to be the hands and feet of God. The staff, leaders and elders of our wonderful church carry a unique burden to grapple with the question of whether they are properly shepherding the funds received on a weekly basis to, as our mission statement aims, teach people how to Love Jesus, Serve Others and Tell the World about Christ. Still, the burden is shared among all to meet the criteria that Christ established in Matthew 28, The Great Commission, which is also the basis for CedarCreek’s mission.

Here we are again, remaining relentless in hopes that you will carry the “Love, Serve and Tell” flag throughout your own personal battleground of life. We persist in our efforts (unapologetically). In January 2012, we spent a substantial amount of time on the topic of living missionally and learning the importance of the highest calling here at CedarCreek Church, which is to become a missional member. We will continue with our efforts because we know that missional members lead our ministries and are key contributors to the success of each CedarCreek campus, our church as a whole, and in our community that has an even greater reach due to the iCampus and the Beyond Our Walls efforts.

We’d like to end this week by asking you some questions to make certain that we are all doing a good job to persistently and unapologetically carrying our Love, Serve and Tell “flag.” But first, let’s look at some scripture to help us get focused.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
According to Matthew 5:16, what is the sole purpose of letting our good deeds shine?

 

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:

 

We Are
Keri Jobe © 2011

We are the light of the world.
We are a city on a hill.
We are the light of the world,
and we gotta let our light shine!

 

What does Galatians 1:10 say happens when our sole purpose is to please people?

Galatians 1:10 (New Living Translation)
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever found yourself trying to please people instead of God? Describe the feelings and emotions that come over you when you make every effort to please people versus God.

 

What do you think would happen if CedarCreek decided to build its mission statement around pleasing people instead of pleasing God? Do you think that CedarCreek would be as persistent with reaching people to live out the Matthew 28 Great Commission and boldly carry the Love, Serve and Tell “flag”?

 

Have you accepted the invitation to be The Church and become a missional member? If so, write out the reason you chose to do so, and describe what you do to live out the Mission Statement.

 

If you are not yet a missional member, we encourage you to attend Commitment Day, which will be held the weekend of May 19th and 20th during every service at any CedarCreek campus. In preparation for Commitment Day:

  • Complete the Missional Membership manual

[Note: You can pick one up at the Welcome Center.]

  • Online study– Next session begins on Tuesday May 1st
  • LifeGroup study – There is a DVD for LG Missional Membership study

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you to be “The Church” by living missionally and shining your light so that others will see your good works, bringing glory to God alone.

Weekend Updates!

  • Help Benefit Local and Regional Missions—Put a golf team together to participate in a July 14th golf outing. Contact John at johnm@cedarcreek.tv for more information. And/or, run in a 5k on June 30th at 10am at the Perrysburg campus. Contact globaldistance@cedarcreek.tv.
  • Would You Like to Get Baptized? New Community will be held at the South Toledo Campus on May 6th at 6pm. Sign-up for any one of the following baptism classes held at South Toledo—April 28th at 5pm, April 30th at 7pm and May 6th at 4pm, or at all campuses on April 29th at 10:45am.
  • Ladies, do you know that God sees you as Fabulous? … And we do too! This year’s theme, “It’s Women’s Work,” will prove to be just as wonderful as last year’s event. Except you don’t want to wait to register as tons of tickets have already been sold and there are a limited number of seats. Register by going to cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab.
  • Fusion Camp–Each summer, hundreds of middle school students enjoy an incredible week of fun, friendship, worship and Bible study at Camp Michindoh. Registration is open now, but don’t delay because spots usually fill up. Questions? Contact the church office at 419.661.8661.

Living It Out: April 2012
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?'”
John 11:25-26 (NLT)

 

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:

Good to Great and the Social Sector—Why Business Thinking is not the Answer
Jim Collins

biblegateway.com

 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Diana Patton
Ryan Wilson
Rebecka Blevins
Sandie Bricker

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.26.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
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THURSDAY — Be The Church: Tell Somebody!
Big Point: Telling the world about Christ could be as simple as stepping outside your home and greeting someone with a smile; and when asked, “Why you are so joyful?” you can tell them, “It’s God in me!”

For many years, churches in America felt the need to go to other countries like Germany, Africa, and India, for example, to share and tell the gospel message of Christ because a lot of people in those countries just did not believe or know of Christ. While the need still exists today, an interesting twist of events has occurred. Those same countries that now believe and live by the gospel message, who perhaps heard this message from our American missionaries, now feel the need to come to America to share that very same message with us.

That same story rings true for Justus and Jemimah who are missionaries to America from Africa. They are so grateful for the missionary work they received from Americans when they were young. However, lately, they’ve seen a shift in the churches in America and now they are here because they feel a desire to revive the American Church. They have a heart to restore, revive and empower God’s Church in America. They are challenging the American Church to rise up, shun its complacency, claim its heritage, seek spiritual renewal and restoration, ensure its continuity to the next generation, and prepare itself, together with the rest of God’s House, for the triumphal return of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. (Read more about Justus and Jemimah by visiting this link: http://klintl.org/about-us-bio-Justus-Musyoka.php).

The question is, are you complacent or are you seeking a spiritual renewal and helping to empower the church? Are you willing to go where necessary to spread the Word? We pray today’s Bible study will encourage you to tell everyone you meet about the hope that you have in the gospel message of Jesus Christ in a respectful and encouraging manner.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?

Read Acts 1:8 and write out what is supposed to happen to you when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.

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:

You will receive: ____________

You will by my: _____________, __________ people about me ___________.

And to the ______________ of the __________.

 

Read 1 Peter 3:15-16 and write out the reason that we are supposed to worship Christ as Lord of our Life. And when we share that reason with another person, how are we supposed to explain it?

1 Peter 3:15-16 (New Living Translation)
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

Let’s take some time and apply Acts 1:8 to our own personal life by answering the following questions:

-Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit come upon you? If so, describe what that was like. Were you compelled to do or say anything?

-Describe what you would consider to be your “Judea and Samaria.” In other words, the places that you think you should or could go to tell the world about Christ. [HINT: It could be as simple as telling someone at your local coffee house establishment.]

-Have you ever stopped to think about Luke’s reference to telling everyone about Christ? Have you ever imagined that the “ends of the earth” would actually include America? What do you think that tells us about the amount of work that we should all feel compelled to do by telling our own community about Christ?

 

Do you believe that you “are the church” and that you hold a responsibility to tell others about Christ?

 

Do you feel a sense of urgency, like Justus and Jemimah, to help revive the church or do you feel complacent? If so, what can you do to restore your spiritual vigor?

 

Do you think that, if others observed you without you knowing it, they would describe you as a gentle and respectful person who loves Jesus and serves others?

 

How confident are you that your life revolves completely around Christ? If you told someone about Christ, would you feel ashamed that your actions do not match up with what you believe?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?

Ask God to help you worship Christ as the Lord of your life and to feel the need to tell others about the hope that is only found in Him. Ask Him to help you live with a mission mindset; telling everyone, everywhere you go.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.25.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
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Wednesday – Be The Church: Live a Life of Service
Big Point: If you surrender your life to the Lordship of Christ and let his spirit empower and lead you, the world can be much better for the glory of God because of you.

Lives are being changed forever because of the irrational passion for people that Christ has given to the local church. Because of CedarCreek, a community of 7,000 people in a town called Limon in Honduras has hope; 20 homes have been built in Honduras, and plans to build over a hundred more are in the works; foster children hoping for adoption in Honduras have a new orphanage where they can sleep and feel safe. Plans are in the works to build ten more orphanages because of the service we live as a Church. There are people saying a prayer tonight thanking God, and many of you are the subject of that thanks and don’t even know it. By living a life of service, most of us don’t fully know the impact we have on people and how God is using our lives to change others. One day, we will all stand before God and we hope He will say that, because of you, more people know Christ.

When we as a Church overcome the consumer version of Christianity and we see ourselves as servants and spiritual contributors, we realize we’re not looking for a church to meet our needs, but we are the Church and we exist for the world and their needs. Spiritually restless and unchurched people are tired of hearing talk about Jesus. They want to see him, they want to know him. When we become the church and serve, they will not be able to deny the love of God through His people.

A service-filled life is the highest pinnacle of the Christian faith. As a Church, we call ourselves followers of Christ and our lives must model not only what Jesus said but what he did and how he lived. Our Church can be greater and stronger or weak and unproductive, depending on what YOU DO.

Because of you, lives will be changed all over the world.

 

READ & THINK …Find the answers

After reading the following verse, just how amazing is it that Christ relinquished his power and came to lead as a servant? How does this example affect your life?

Matthew 20:28 (New Living Translation)
28For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Answer:

 

The next verse talks about being enriched in every way. What does “every way” mean to you? How can you reach the spiritually restless by showing Christ through your actions and generosity today?

2 Corinthians 9:11-13 (New Living Translation)
11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

Answer:

 

In this next verse, who has spiritual gifts? What must we do with them?

[Note: If you don’t know what your gift is, are you aware of the spiritual gift assessment that CedarCreek provides? Go to www.cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab and find “classes and seminars” – to the right of that screen you can download the assessment or go to the Welcome Center and ask for assistance.]

1 Corinthians 12:7 (New Living Translation)
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

 

Answer:

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

You do not lock eyes with a single person on a single day that doesn’t matter to the creator of the universe. God is using you; every need you come across is an opportunity for you to live the life Christ is calling you to live. There is no greater reward than living a life of service. Have you ever experienced the wonderful feeling of seeing the people you’ve ministered to begin to minister others? Describe what happened.

 

Why is serving not viewed with much regard in our culture? Why is the biblical world view against the grain of our world in so many ways?

 

Where do you rank in the importance of your biblical world view in your life? Do your actions reflect your rankings? What can you do to strengthen your biblical view?

 

Knowing that Jesus called you to be the Church and to exist for the world, what can you do to serve your community and your local church?

 

A unified Church is the hope of the world. It can accomplish infinitely more together than apart. Baby steps towards that plan are better than no steps. Take a step today. What’s your next move?

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know & do?

Thank God for the example in service He gave us in His only begotten son Jesus. Ask God to continue the divine intervention through your life and our Church. Thank God for His plan and ask Him to fill you with His spirit today. Ask Him for the eyes to see the people in need of His service. Ask God to remind us that it’s all for His glory, not ours. Although it feels good to help others, we do it in the name of Christ. Our lives are to bring Him glory and follow His will.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.24.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
Click here to listen to an audio version of the Daily Bible Study for today.


TUESDAY — Be The Church: Live a Life of Love
Big Point: The unfathomable love that God has for us empowers us to first love God, then love others, and to live a life that reflects that love.

We all search for that great love that we are told is out there. As stated in a recent message from Bible Gateway’s Devotions for Women, “From Romeo and Juliet to the movie Titanic, books, films, and stories tell us that there is a love that is great enough to die for. Many would say their greatest earthly desire is for true intimacy with another—not a vague commitment or wishy-washy affection. Some might say they want a love worth dying for. Maybe you feel the same way. In fact, if you are honest, on many days you may long more for the affirmation and passion of a husband or wife than you ache for the love of God.

“God is love; even your desire for love points to Him as the source of all love. The love between a man and a woman is a beautiful reflection of God’s love, and [we] desire that kind of love because God has placed that desire in [us].

“God doesn’t love you at a distance or remember you as an afterthought. He loves everything about you. He loves you in more ways than you can ever know because He knows you through and through.

“God wants you to believe that He loves you, and He doesn’t put conditions on His love. He only asks that you respond to His love: ‘Place me like a seal over your heart.’ Imagine God saying to you, ‘I love you so much that I want to be with you intimately, at all times.’ God loves you with the strongest love imaginable; a love that is as strong as death. In fact, He proved His love through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This ultimate gift showed us that His love for us was, in fact, a love worth dying for.”

The greatest way we can respond to God’s love is to first love Him and then love others by living a life that is a reflection of His love.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible

Read John 5:39. Where does Jesus say that eternal life comes from, and to whom do the scriptures point?

John 5:39 (New Living Translation)
You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!

Answer:

 

Read Matthew 22:37. What does Jesus say “we must” do?

Matthew 22:37 (New Living Translation)
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”

Answer:

 

As you read Colossians 1:8, reflect on today’s reading. What are we told that the Holy Spirit has given us?

Colossians 1:8 (New Living Translation)
He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

Answer:

 

LIVE ..… What will you do now?

Have you ever found yourself aching for the love that only God can provide? If so, give an example of what that might look like for you.

 

If you have never ached for God’s love, why not? Perhaps you are looking for love in the wrong places. Why do you think it is best to seek out God’s love above all other loves in your life?

 

Why do you suspect it is easier to love others, even when they may not always love or even like you, when we seek God’s love above all else?

 

CedarCreek’s Mission statement is to “love Jesus and serve others.” As reflected in today’s reading, God desires that we love Him and others, and that our lives reflect that love by the way we live. Carefully examine your own life and describe in detail how your love for God and others is reflected in your day-to-day living.

 

Are there areas that need improvement? Carefully think about three ways that you could work on improving your love for God as well as others this week, and write those plans in the spaces provided below. Also, take time to determine the actions you will take this week to carry the plans out and write them in the spaces provided below.

Plans:
1.

2.

3.

Actions:
1.

2.

3.

 

Pray … God, what do you want to know and do?

Give thanks to God for the continual and unfathomable love that He has for you; for His Holy Spirit that transforms and enables you to love Him and others. Ask Him to show you what you need to do for your life to reflect His love for others and to help you carry out the actions necessary for your life to change and reflect His love.

 

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.23.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
Click here to listen to an audio version of the Daily Bible Study for today.

 

The song that made Whitney Houston a household name was titled, “How Will I Know?” Remember it, from the mid-1980s? There’s a line in the song that says, “I’m asking you ‘cause you know about these things.” That’s how we feel about the Bible, isn’t it? When we’re unsure or confused about something, we should seek the answer in scripture. When we wonder if we’re doing a good job as Christ followers, as leaders, as servants…we find the answer by turning to The One who “knows about these things” and to our church to teach us.

But, what happens when the church wonders if it is doing a good job? Where should the church look to determine if it is doing a good job? Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great and the Social Sector – Why Business Thinking is not the Answer, delves into the difference between the mediocre and the truly excellent:

“The comparison companies in our research—those that failed to become great—placed greater emphasis on using incentives to ‘motivate’ otherwise unmotivated or undisciplined people. The great companies, in contrast, focused on getting and hanging on to the right people in the first place—those who are productively neurotic, those who are self-motivated and self-disciplined, those who wake up every day, compulsively driven to do the best they can because it is simply part of their DNA.”

Does that describe you? Are you “compulsively driven” to do your best for the cause of Jesus, both in your personal life and your service within the church? After all, we are the church.

Do you recall the video that was played this past weekend where people on the street were asked “When you hear the word church what do you think of?” Only one described it similar to how Christ viewed the church as “people growing together toward God as a community that loves outwardly.” This is similar to CedarCreek’s mission statement—we exist solely to help spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ—derived from Matthew 28. We’ll know we’re making a successful impact if we teach people to live out our mission.

With the mission statement as our blueprint, during this week’s Bible study, we’ll take a deeper look at The Great Commission which establishes the groundwork for discovering God’s wonderful plan for us and how we should live. We’ll ask ourselves the tough questions: Do we truly love Jesus? Do we extend love and grace toward others? Are we sharing our faith? On Thursday and Friday, we’ll dig deeper still to find out how to apply the scriptural purpose to our daily lives through our faith walk and its outward appearance to the world around us, and through our dedication to the church’s mission statement.

Colossians 1:18 clearly shows us that there is an infrastructure that starts with Jesus and extends to us: “Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” With that in mind, let’s work together this week to evaluate our current service to Christ as the leader of our church, and to develop new ways to “compulsively” follow the commission we’ve been given.

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL CHALLENGE YOU TO ACTUALLY “BE THE CHURCH” AND LIVE OUT OUR MISSION

MONDAY — Be The Church: Teach People How to Live
Big Point: The Great Commission tells us to go out and make disciples of men; part of doing so means to teach them how to live as truly converted believers.

The dictionary defines CONVERT in the following way: To change (something) into a different form or properties; transmute; transform.

Transformation is a powerful word, isn’t it? It implies a certain rebirth, a compulsive and devoted commitment to a new way of life. This should be our goal in teaching others how to live as believers.

Jesus instructs us as his disciples to serve as examples and teachers to others by purporting three unique qualities: A life of LOVE for Jesus; a life of SERVICE to others; and a life of TELLING the world what we know. It’s known as The Great Commission, but it’s really quite simple. It all starts with our love and passion for Jesus.

In order to be effective in fulfilling the commission he gave us, our next step is connecting with people on a regular basis and sharing our passion with them. Whether that’s done through church attendance and service, life group participation, committed missional membership or via some outside venue or source, we know from delving into the life of Jesus that being where the people are is the first step in teaching them about the salvation that awaits.

How many times has some simple gesture from a random person blessed your heart and provided a reminder that you are not alone? Through our service to others, we are instrumental in lighting the way for them toward transformation. This is why our involvement in church ministry and our commitment to furthering the cause of the church is so vital to our obedience to the teachings of Jesus.

By following up that service and sharing what we know and believe, the commission comes full circle in our lives.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus provides clear direction on how to fulfill The Great Commission he has given us. What is the first and most important step of that fulfillment?

Matthew 28:18 (New Living Translation)
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

Answer:

Once we believe in him and acknowledge his lordship over every aspect of our lives, what is our next step in fulfilling his commission?

Matthew 28:19 (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.

Answer:

And finally, once we have taken our passion out to connect with the world and offered hands of service in the name of Jesus, where do we go from there?

Matthew 28:20 (New Living Translation)
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:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

Has your commission from God been a priority in your life? Do you get lost in the everyday challenges and obligations of your family, your job and your goals…only to put your work for Him on a back burner? Have you ever meditated on the divine purpose of your life as a Christian? What does that look like for you?

Describe how you go out and make disciples of other people?

Do you take the time to teach people how to live? Describe how you do this? Do you find it easy to point to examples in your own life to act as a teaching tool to show people how to live?

Think back to a time when a “divine connection” came out of nowhere, when you were engaged in simple service to someone and the opportunity arose to tell them about Jesus. Describe what happened—did you take the opportunity, or did you shrink back?

If we are indeed the hands and feet of our God, how have you contributed to the work of His kingdom? And how would you like to contribute going forward?

 

I Refuse
Josh Wilson © 2011

Sometimes I,
I just want to close my eyes
and act like everyone’s alright
when I know they’re not.
This world needs God,
but it’s easier to stand and watch. I could pray a prayer and just move on
like nothing’s wrong.
But I refuse.
I don’t want to live like I don’t care. I don’t want to say
another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
to do what God has called me to do myself.
I could choose not to move,
but I refuse.

 

Pray … God what do you want me to know & do?

Ask God to help you fully understand the calling on your life to act as His disciple. Examine your heart and pray that you might be a more selfless servant for His kingdom, asking the Holy Spirit to nudge you when opportunities for service and/or evangelism might be utilized to his glory.