Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.08.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.08.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas

THURSDAY — One Day All the Tears Will Go Away
Big Point: Christians have hope because our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for us.

        Here is a portion of an article titled, “Why Does God Allow Suffering” from former atheist, now well-known pastor and author, Lee Strobel: “Imagine that on the first day of the year, you had a horrible time — you had a horrendous toothache, your stock portfolio plummeted, you crashed your new car. But then each and every one of the remaining 364 days of 2001 was filled with incredible joy. Your stocks rebounded and you made twenty million dollars; you had an idyllic vacation in Tahiti; you got the dream job you’ve always wanted; your daughter gave birth to your first grandchild and named the child after you; you were selected the state’s Person of the Year. Each day is blissful and wonderful.
        Now, imagine that at the end of the year someone asks you, ‘How was 2001 for you?’ You’d undoubtedly reply, ‘It was terrific!’ The friend might ask, ‘But didn’t it start out bad?’ “You’d say, ‘Yes, you’re right. I can’t deny that. But when I look at the totality of the year, putting everything into context, it’s been great! The 364 wonderful days far outweighed the one bad day.’
        The same is true for heaven—even after a hard life, a life of struggles and difficulties, after the equivalent of 154,563,467 days of pure bliss in the presence of God Almighty in heaven — with infinite more days to come — if someone asked, ‘How has your existence been?’ you’d exclaim enthusiastically, ‘It has been absolutely wonderful!’ If the person inquired, ‘But didn’t you have a tough time before you got to heaven?’ you’d reply, ‘Well, yes, that’s true. I can’t deny that. But when I put everything into context, in light of all God’s outpouring of goodness to me, those momentary bad days aren’t even worth comparing with the eternity of blessings and joy that I’ve experienced!’

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 14:1-3 (New Living Translation)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read John 14:1-3 and the commentary about this passage of scripture. Jesus knew that we would be facing tremendous difficulties in this life. What comfort does Jesus offer believers in John 14:1-3?

What did you think about today’s introductory story? Revelation 21:4 contains a promise to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Once we leave this earth, why is it that all pain, death, and sadness flees forever?

Commentary on John 14:1-3:
This passage starts what is called Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns attention to his disciples and their needs. Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches them. He warns them not only of his impending death, but also of the trials they will face in building the Kingdom. He shows us that He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit – and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in him. (from intothyword. org)

LIVE…What will you do now?
Look at Revelation 21:4 again. What sadness, pain, or sorrow will you be glad to be rid of when you get to heaven one day?

How do you feel knowing that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, that there will come a time when you will no longer feel pain or sorrow about the things that happened in this life?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Jesus understands what you are going through today—but Jesus also knows what eternal joy and peace await those who live their life in faith to him. In your prayer time today, focus on Jesus’ promises to you for the future and thank him.

1:5 “whose hearts God had moved…” The primary underlying message of Ezra and Nehemiah is that the sovereign hand of God is at work in perfect keeping with His plan at His appointed time. God stirred up not only the spirit of Cyrus to make the decree, but His own people to go and build up Jerusalem and the temple.
3:3 “fear of the peoples around them…” The settlers who had come to occupy the land during the seventy years of Israel’s absence were deportees brought in from other countries by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. These inhabitants saw the Jews as a threat and quickly wanted to undermine their allegiance to God.
3:12 “who had seen the former temple…” The temple built by Solomon.
4:1 “the enemies of Judah…” These were Israel’s enemies in the region who resisted their reestablishment.
4:2 “have been sacrificing to him…” This claim was falsely made by the Samaritans who had developed a superstitious form of worshiping God.
4:5 “frustrate their plans…” This caused a sixteen year delay. As a result, the people took more interest in their personal affairs than spiritual matters.
4:21 “issue an order to stop…” This command was not a small order for one or two workers, but the efforts of 50,000 were called to a halt. This decree would not lose its authority until the king established a new decree.
5:5 “the eye of God was watching…” God’s hand of protection which led this endeavor allowed the work to continue while official communication was ongoing with the king.


Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.07.11

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Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas

WEDNESDAY— God is reconciling the world through us
Big Point: We are God’s Ambassadors and as His Ambassadors we are to tell others how Jesus has changed our lives so that others will meet God through us.

        In this week’s message Lee talked about the “Changed Life Stories” file he has that he regularly reflects on and refers to. One of the most amazing changed life stories found in scripture is the apostle Paul’s.

         No person, apart from Jesus himself, shaped the history of Christianity like the apostle Paul. Even before he was a believer, his actions were significant. His persecution of Christians got the church to start obeying Christ’s final command…. to take the gospel worldwide. Paul was very religious. His intentions and efforts were sincere. He was a good Pharisee who knew the Bible and sincerely believed that the Christian movement was dangerous to Judaism. Thus, he hated the Christian faith and persecuted Christians without mercy.           

        Paul got permission to travel to Damascus to capture Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem, but God stopped him in his tracks on the road to Damascus. Paul personally met Jesus Christ and his life was never again the same.

        God did not waste any part of Paul—his background, his training, his citizenship, his mind, and even his weaknesses. The lives Paul touched were changed and challenged by meeting Christ through him. Are you willing to let God do the same to you? You will never know all He can do with you until you allow Him to have all that you are.

READ…What does the Bible say?
2 Corinthians 5:19b (New Living Translation)
….And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (New Living Translation)
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Ephesians 6:20 (New Living Translation)
I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

Colossians 1:6 (New Living Translation)
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

THINK…Find the answers
Read 2 Corinthians 5:20. What are we to Christ? How do we speak for Christ?

In Colossians 1:6 what happens when the Good News bears fruit? What can we do to help bring about change in others?

LIVE…What will you do now?
An Ambassador is an official representative of one country to another. As an Ambassador of Christ, what can you do to represent him?

Paul gave all of himself to Christ without any reservations. Perhaps you want to give more of yourself– to serve, tithe, or minister to others. What is blocking or preventing you from giving all of yourself to Christ?

Christ’s final command was to take the gospel message to the entire world. List 3 ways you can tell others about Jesus Christ (hints: just go fishing, grab a cup of coffee—just hang out with them and listen, give them an invite card):

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray and ask God to use all of you to spread the gospel. Praise and thank Him for sending the person or people that He sent to you that told you about Jesus.

Agreement #1
We agree that the cause of the church is the greatest cause on the planet.
(Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 6:33)
CedarCreek’s Five Agreements

5:10-13 The fabric of justice had been destroyed, causing pervasive corruption “in the gates,” the place where justice was administered.
5:14, 15 These righteous conditions necessary to turn back God’s fastapproaching judgment.
5:16, 17 Looking back at the previous accusations, Amos pictured the people mourning as the Lord passed through their midst, executing His sentence of judgment.
6:3-8 The Lord profiles the sinful and despicable lifestyle of the people whom He will judge.
7:3 “the Lord relented…” This is similar to what the Lord did when Abraham pleaded over Sodom in Genesis 18.
7:14-16 “not a prophet…word of the Lord…” Amos declares that he was a farmer by occupation, but that God had spoken through him and Israel desperately needed to listen.
8:8 “stirred up and sink like the river in Egypt…” Like the Nile River, which annually provided water and rich soil deposits for farmers by greatly overflowing its banks, judgment would overflow the land of Israel for the unrighteous arrogance of the nation.
8:11, 12 During prosperity, the nation rejected the prophets; captivity allows no word from the Lord. What they once had in abundance and had rejected, they now desperately wanted but could not find, no matter how far they searched.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.06.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.06.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas

TUESDAY — God is Reconciling the World to Himself
Big Point: Despite our reckless, senseless behavior, despite a bad economy, homelessness, war or just plain ‘ole day-to-day struggles, God is repairing and restoring this world to Himself.

         Think back on your deepest, most ugly act. Something you would probably be embarrassed to talk about. Getting drunk and doing something crazy. Living lustfully, only thinking of yourself and fulfilling your own desires with destructive behaviors. What if your actions caused harm to someone—perhaps you lashed out in anger or you seriously injured someone (either emotionally or physically) and it left such a deep wound that they are having a hard time forgiving you. Or perhaps you were the one who was harmed and you have since chosen to hold onto unforgiveness. Perhaps you’ve held onto this unforgiveness for so long that the wedge between you and the other person seems so thick that you can’t even see how you can ever forgive them — for one reason or another. Think about it … what is your ugliest sin? (Oh, and by the way, all the above actions make for great TV shows and box-office movie hits. Have you noticed that?)
          Don’t have any ugly sins? Think about someone you read about in the paper or saw on the news where they may have killed someone or done something so terrible, so heinous that it’s even hard to think about.
         Then, think about yourself, or that someone you are thinking about, accepting Christ as their personal savior. Do you know that at that very moment, it’s as if God takes a washcloth and blots away all of those deep, dark, terrible, ugly sins and scars. In an instant! At the very moment we accept God, He brings us back to himself… He reconciles us and makes us righteous. In fact, that is what he is doing with the world we live in.

READ…What does the Bible say?
2 Corinthians 5:19a (New Living Translation)
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sin against them …

Colossians 1:22 (New Living Translation)
Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Romans 5:10 (New Living Translation)
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

THINK…Find the answers
According to 2 Corinthians 5:19a, what is that God no longer counts against us?

In fact, Romans 5:10 says our friendship with God was restored by what act? Colossians 1:22 is like a Christmas gift. What did we receive as a result of Christ’s death in his physical body?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Reconciliation is the process of repairing and restoring a damaged relationship. The fact remains, no one is good enough to save him or herself.

In what ways are you relying on your own methods to restore your relationship with Christ? In what way is God using you (or the church) to reconcile the world to Himself?

Realize this; you will sin repeatedly, this we can guarantee. But we can also guarantee that Christ has repaired and restored our damaged relationship with him. Write out the steps you took and the day you decided to accept Christ as your personal savior … then, share it with one or two people.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
If you have not already accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, perhaps today’s Bible study has encouraged you. If so, read this prayer: Lord, I confess that you are Lord and I believe in my heart that God raised Christ from the dead, and I accept him as my personal savior. Please forgive me of all of my sins. (Note: Read the weekend updates to learn about next steps)

Amos was a Judean prophet called to deliver a message primarily to the northern tribes of Israel. Politically, it was a time of prosperity for Israel. Spiritually, however, it was a time of rampant corruption and moral decay.
1:6 “Gaza…” Philistia’s most prominent merchant city ideally situated between Egypt and Israel, here used to refer to the Philistine nation.
1:9 “treaty of brotherhood…” A long-standing, brotherly relationship existed between Phoenicia and Israel. No king of Israel ever made war against Phoenicia, especially the two major cities, Tyre and Sidon.
1:11 “pursued his brother…” More than mere fighting, Edom pursued his brother, i.e. Israel, stifling any feelings of compassion.
2:4 “Judah…” Now that the prophet Amos had finished with his judgments against the surrounding pagan nations, he proceeded to address Judah.
3:2 “You only have I chosen…” God’s sovereign choice of Israel did not exempt her from punishment for disobedience.
3:7 Judgment is coming, but the Lord graciously warned the nation in advance through His prophets.
4:4, 5
With poignant sarcasm, Amos indicted Israel for idolatrous sacrifices and ritualistic religion, all of which were meaningless and worthless to the Lord.
4:5 “burn leavened bread…” Although unleavened bread was required for most offerings, leavened was required as a part of the thanksgiving offering.
4:6-11 Past warnings of famine, drought, crop failure, a plague, and military defeat were futile, a fact repeatedly emphasized by the statement, “yet you have not returned to me”.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.05.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.05.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas

Whether we may wish to admit it or not, most people like “Hallmark stories” or they’d like to delight in a “Hallmark moment.” Now, we do realize that if given a choice between ESPN and the Hallmark channel, some would opt for ESPN. But if you dig a little deeper, their hearts would likely say Hallmark channel.

What is a Hallmark story? It’s when tragedy strikes a family, group of friends, or a community of people and a great deal of trials and drama is endured. But in the end, the story turns out positive and the people grow from the experience.

Take Brad and Christine Kisabeth’s story that was shown this past weekend. Brad and Christine shared that at one time, they were living the middle-American dream. They lived in a nice house, had great jobs, cars, and they were even fortunate enough to be able to give to others. But then, tragedy struck. Brad got very sick, medical bills piled up and Brad eventually lost his job. As a result, they found they needed to sell a lot of family possessions and give up their home just to make ends meet. As the provider of the home, Brad began to feel like he had failed his family as they continued to struggle, week-to-week, just trying to get food and gas. But eventually, as they began to grow closer to Christ, gift cards started coming in the mail, money started showing up, and they found their needs were being met. Granted, they weren’t getting what they necessarily wanted, but they were getting just what they needed to live. Times were tremendously difficult adjusting to this new way of living, but Brad and his entire family believe that this tragedy was necessary to allow God to draw them closer to Him! A Hallmark story, indeed! Wouldn’t you agree?

The above story could have turned out differently, and sometimes they do. Which brings us to the same question that Lee shared during the “Broken” series of messages last month, “Why does God allow suffering?” … especially to seemingly good people like the Kisabeth’s? Lee took this question a step further in light of the upcoming Christmas season and we know many of you are asking (or could be asked) this same question: “How do we reconcile the good news of Christmas with the bad news of the world?” We find ourselves asking the same question that Cindy Lou asked and sang in How the Grinch Stole Christmas “Where are you Christmas?” Some of us have suffered quite a bit; we’ve lost loved ones, lost jobs, our lives are in crisis, and we just can’t seem to get all excited about Christmas.
Well, we have good news. God has a plan! He truly does. You can read about a wonderful message that an angel gave in Luke 2:10-11 to let us know that our Savior was born and we don’t have to be afraid. What a blessed assurance!

This week’s LIO is intended for you to dig into the wonderful promise, and hope we have in Christ. It’s exciting to know that God is reconciling the world to Himself and through us, and He’s planning a huge party for us. The Kisabeth’s recognized this awesome promise and we pray that through this study, you do too.

“Know that you do not stand alone in this world where it seems that
good is always trying to be overrun by evil. God stands by your side and
continually fights for you. Together with Him, you will be victorious.”
The Whisper of God

MONDAY — God Has a Plan
Big Point:
If you love and serve God, breathe a sigh of relief. God has a plan for you, and He will work whatever you are going through for the good and give you everything you need, making everyday feel like Christmas!

          Have you ever experienced airplane turbulence? Anyone who’s made more than a few flights has almost surely had at least one bumpy ride when the airplane felt like a car on a rough road, except that the airplane might have rolled from side to side as well as bouncing up and down – about thirty thousand feet in the air. Even if you’ve never ridden in an airplane or experienced turbulence, we are sure you can only imagine how scary that must feel. Think about it, what would you begin thinking in that exact moment, just as the turbulence hits? It’s likely you would hope that the pilot has a plan to deal with the issue.
          Think about the 155 passengers on board the flight where Captain “Sully” successfully landed the U.S. Airways plane on the Hudson River, saving everyone’s life. You best believe they were hoping that their flight captain had a plan.
          Our lives are no different. When we are in the thick of despair, tragedy and crisis, or we are on a plane experiencing turbulence, we can rest assured ourselves that our captain, God, has a plan. In fact, He has a masterful plan for our lives. This plan does not guarantee that all that happens to us is good, but that God is able to turn every circumstance around for our longrange good. God wants us to know that whether we experience reward or punishment, happiness or discomfort—His plan is good. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving … making us feel like it’s Christmas every single day of our lives.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Ephesians 1:11 (New Living Translation)
11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

Ephesians 1:9-10 (The Message)
… He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Genesis 50:20 (New Living Translation)
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

“If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time.”
Song, “Where are you Christmas?”

THINK…Find the answers
What is it that Ephesians 1:11 and Romans 8:28 tell us that we have received from God? And if we love God and are called to His purpose, what will He cause everything that happens in our lives to do?

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph talked about how his brothers intended something for evil but God intended it for the good … so that Joseph, and we, can do what?

What does Ephesians 1:9-10 say that God thought of with regard to our lives? What does He say He will give us… everything we want or everything we need?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Describe a struggle you are currently going through and how you can transfer any thoughts of despair to Christ-affirming thoughts that God has a plan for your life?

Think back on your life. List a couple of ways you’ve seen how God has taken what you’ve gone through and used it for the good, for His purpose?


PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you to wake-up every day recognizing the gift that He has given you: that He has a masterful plan for your life.

33:11-17 God’s retribution for Manasseh’s evil was swift. Manasseh apparently repented, but the spiritual damage was not easily reversed.
33:12, 14 “Manasseh knew…” Although Manasseh was very wicked, idolatrous and a murderer of children, God graciously forgave this “chief of sinners” when he repented.
34:1, 2 At the age of sixteen, Josiah began to cultivate a love for God in his heart, and by age twenty his character was strong enough in devotion to Him that he went into action to purge his nation.
34:8 “repair the house of the Lord…” During the 55 year reign of Manasseh and the two-year reign of Amon, the work of Hezekiah on the temple restoration was undone, which called for another extensive enterprise to “repair and restore” it.
34:33 “As long as he lived, they did not fail…” Josiah was a very noble king and had a life-long influence over the nation by the power of his godly life and firm devotion to God and His Word.
35:3 “the sacred ark…” The Ark of the Covenant which was to remain in the Most Holy Place had been removed, probably by Manasseh, who set a carved image in its place. Now that the temple had been restored, Josiah had the ark put back in its place and the poles for transporting removed since there was no longer any need for the ark to be moved.
35:20-27 The details of Josiah’s tragic death are given. When compared with the account in 2 Kings 22:28-30, the events became clearer. Josiah was wounded in battle but made it back to Jerusalem before he died.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.02.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.02.11.

This Week: Gratitude


FRIDAY — Gratitude Journal
A Tradition Worth Keeping. Several years ago I read of the old Quaker tradition of keeping a gratitude journal. I was inspired by the idea, so I purchased a book with blank pages and titled it My Ode to Joy. Each morning I wrote a little thank-you note to God. I found it to be a way to start my day on a positive note. Little did I under-stand then how the discipline of writing down five things for which I am thankful eve-ry day would forever change my life. When I first started, I found it easy to hit the big things—good parents, a wonderful husband, my children (and later my grandchil-dren), and, of course, a writing career I love. These precious gifts still make their way on to my list over and over. Today, when I reread journals from past years I see that as the months, then years trickled by, I began to dig deeper for things to add to my list. As I matured in my understanding of how God works, it wasn’t only the good things, the pleasant, “happy” gifts for which I expressed appreciation. I began to see more clearly how God was using life’s trials in unexpected ways for my good, so I began to write down my gratitude for the seemingly negative things in my life—my troubles, pains, and losses. With that knowledge I became more confident that God would see me through everything, and my gratitude grew deeper.
                                                                    -Debbie Macomber, One Simple Act
Many people don’t like the practice of journal writing, but the Old Quaker Tradi-tional, and Macomber’s practical application, is asking us only to write a list of five things each day. This is an activity that can easily be shared at the dinner table with family, or at LifeGroup with friends.

Philippians 4:11-13 (New Living Translation)
11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Verse 13 is an often quoted, and very inspirational verse. Paul starts this passage by drawing on personal experience of trials and difficulties to give creditability to his powerful statement in verse 13. What does Paul tell us in verse 13?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Start a gratitude journal today. Below, write five things you’re grateful for:

Prayerfully thank God for them all. Close your time remembering Eucharist and take communion.

A Special Thanks – to all the Volunteers and, you, the Living it Out Readers! We want to take the time to thank all of the thousands of volunteers and Living it Out readers that have embodied the CedarCreek mission statement: to help the spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ. Without your commitment, service, generosity, and sharing your testimony, thousands upon thousands would not know of the hope of Jesus Christ. So, thank you.
Think about it, who can you share the hope of Christ with this week? Take a moment and give thanks for someone in your life. Then, take the time to forward the Living it Out to them – either via mail or email.
Weekend Updates!

  •  New Community: New Community services will be held on Sunday, Decem-ber 4th at 6:00pm at the Whitehouse Campus.
  •  Women’s Ministry event—A Thousand Gifts: Sign up at any Welcome Center or online at, under the “get connected tab” and classes and seminars to join in on an evening of fun, light snacks and girl talk, Thursday, December 1st at 6:30pm.
  •  Change is Good—ONLY ONE Saturday Service: Starting December 10th, just in time for the South Toledo launch, CedarCreek will only have one Satur-day service at 6pm. Be sure to put this in your calendar!
  •  Who will you Invite? Our next series is entitled My Christmas Playlist. There are 45 Christmas services, December 22-24th. Who will you bring with you?

Living It Out: *NEW* December 2011
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of  David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11 (New International Version)

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

Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses, are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the New Testament in a year

Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others

Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

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

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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.

Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Rebecka Blevins

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Emily Lee
Emily Francis
Kaye Althaus
Tammy Kaiser
Rick Kinney

29:11 The Levites had been kept from their duties by the wickedness of Ahaz, but were called back into service by King Hezekiah, reminding them that the Lord had chosen them to minister. Pressures or responsibilities may render us inactive and ineffective. When you have been given the responsibility to minister, don’t neglect your duty. If you become inactive in Christian service, either by choice or by circumstance, look for opportunities to serve that God will send your way. Then, like the Levites, be ready for action.
29:22 The blood sprinkled on the altar represented the innocence of sacrificed animals taking the place of the guilt of the person making the offering. The ritual looked forward to the day when Jesus Christ sacrificed His innocent life on the cross so that a sinful and guilty human race may be spared the punishment it de-serves (See Hebrews 10:1-14).
31:1 The Israelites had access to the one true God but constantly fell into wor-shipping idols made of wood or stone. They put aside worshipping the Creator to worship the creation. When we think more of wealth, power, prestige or material possessions than about God we are actually worshipping these things as gods.
32:31 Why did God leave Hezekiah to himself after he was healed of his illness? God stepped back to see how Hezekiah would respond and to show him his own shortcomings. Unfortunately, Hezekiah’s pride caused him to point to his own ac-complishments instead of to God’s. Pride is any attitude that elevates our accom-plishments above God’s or looks down on others.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.01.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.01.11.

Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

THURSDAY — Be Thankful
Big Point: “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” -Dietrich Bonheoffer

        We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but sometimes we cruise through life on autopilot and forget to stop and humbly thank God for all He has done for us. What are some blessings in your life that you would acknowledge if someone asked you right now? Before you answer that, consider the following:

  • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep—you are richer than 75% of the world’s population.  If have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish—you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. 
  • If you woke up this morning with more health than illness—you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.
  •  If you never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation—you are ahead of 700 million peo-ple in the world.  
  • If you can attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death—you are envied by—and more blessed than—three billion people in the world. Now what will YOU thank God for today?

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message)
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who be-long to Christ Jesus to live.

Mark 14:22-24 (New Living Translation)
22As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” 23And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.”

THINK…Find the answers
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, what are we suppose to do all of the time? How does this help enrich our relationship with God?

In Mark 14:22-24 we read of The Last Supper Jesus had with disciples. This can al-so be looked at as the first communion where Jesus first used these symbols and methods to worship God. What did Jesus use to symbolize God’s new covenant with mankind? How might participating in this ritual increase our level of gratitude?

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’”
-William A. Ward

LIVE…What will you do now?
1 Thessalonian 5:16-18 tells us that our joys, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands—be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful—often goes against our natural inclina-tions. Our level of gratitude is often a good indicator of how we are doing in follow-ing these commands. What has today’s reading revealed about how you are doing with the three commands above? As you hear yourself relating everyday events to others, what are you learning about your level of gratitude?

One of the holiest moments we can experience as a Chris-tian is the “Eucharist”. Is Communion special or ordinary to you? How can you keep from losing the wonder of it?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Today, ask God for a deeper awareness of the blessings in your life and that the resulting gratitude would inspire joy and a stronger connection with Him.

Eucharist: Commun-ion, or the Lord’s Sup-per, which means “the giving of thanks.” It is a time to remember what God has done through Christ’s sacri-fice. As we eat the bread and drink the wine, we should be quietly reflective as we recall Jesus’ death, grateful for God’s wonderful gift to us.

25:2 King Amaziah did what was right on the outside but inwardly he often re-sented what he had to do. His obedience was half-hearted. When the prophet promised God’s deliverance Amaziah complained about the money he lost. He valued military success more than God’s will. We must search our hearts and re-move any resistance to obeying God. Grudging compliance is not true obedience.
26:21 For most of his life King Uzziah did what was pleasing to God, but he be-came full of pride and turned away from God. God struck him with leprosy and he remained leprous until his death. He is remembered more for his disobedience than for his great acts. God requires lifelong obedience. Spurts of obedience are not enough. Be remembered for your consistent faith, not for your downfall.
27:2 Jotham was a good king who was obedient to God even though the nation was not and became corrupt. Leaders’ good examples are not always followed, but this should not affect the way you live for God.
28:3 Imagine the horror of a religion that sacrifices young children to its gods. God allowed the nation of Judah to be conquered because of King Ahaz’s evil practices.
28:22 Difficulties and struggles can devastate people or they can stimulate growth and maturity. For Ahaz, difficulties led to spiritual collapse. We do not have to respond as Ahaz did. When rough situations or problems occur do not run from God but turn to Him. See these times as opportunities for you to claim God’s help and to develop a closer relationship with God.


Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.30.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.30.11.

Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

WEDNESDAY— Fall Down to Christ
Big Point: Our gratitude should be a result of God’s grace for us, His free, undeserving gift He offers to each of us.

        When a top executive is caught for embezzlement or a church minister is involved in an illicit affair, you will often hear the phrase “fallen from grace”. We have come to believe that when someone falls into sin, he falls from grace.
        Grace is a pillar of our faith; it is God’s gracious love for us that rescues us from our sin and an eternity separated from Him. Grace is God showing us favor that is totally unmerited.
        God wants us to know that when someone falls into sin, he does not fall from grace. He actually falls into grace! And God’s grace is there to put him back on his feet.

READ…What does the Bible say?
2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

1 Peter 5:10 (New International Version)
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Romans 1:21 (New Living Translation)
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.

THINK…Find the answers
In 2 Corinthians 2:9 the Apostle Paul writes that God’s grace is sufficient. What does this mean to you?

Christ followers are to live with the understanding that God’s purposes realized in the future often require some struggles in the present. What does 1 Peter 5:10 promise us will happen after we experience struggles in our lives?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Can you think of a time in your life that things were not going well, possibly a time when you really messed up and you were down? How did God’s grace help you?


Lyrics to the world’s most popular
Amazing Grace
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

“Everything we do should be a result of our gratitude for what God has done for us.”
-Lauryn Hill

Are you aware of God’s goodness in your life? Is God’s goodness directly related to your current state of physical comfort and happiness?

On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your awareness of the goodness of which you are a recipient (1=not at all; 5=very aware)? Circle one.
1           2           3           4           5

If you are experiencing difficulty right now in your life, make 1 Peter 5:10 your prayer and ask God to show you His grace. Take a moment and write down your request to God.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to be the one constant reliable thing in your life. Praise Him and thank Him for His unconditional love -when times are good and when times are tough.

21:6 Jehoram married Athaliah the daughter of King Ahab. Her mother was Jezebel, one of the most wicked women that Israel had ever known. 21:8-11 Jehoram’s reign was one of sin and cruelty. Yet he was not killed in battle or by treachery, but died of a lingering and painful disease. Our punishment for sin is not always immediate, but eventually, we suffer the consequences of our sin when we continue to ignore God’s commands.
23:15-17 Athaliah’s life ended as her mother’s had, by execution. Her life of idolatry and treachery was cut short by God’s judgment of her sin. By this time, though, Judah had slipped so far away from God that Baal was worshipped in Jerusalem.
24:5 The Levites took their time in carrying out the king’s order even though he told them to make haste. Offerings for keeping the Temple were not just the king’s wish but were also God’s command. The Levites were not only disregarding the king but disregarding God. When it comes to obeying God, a slow response is little better than no response. Obey God willingly and immediately.
24:18-20 When King Joash and the nation abandoned God, God sent Zechariah to call them to repentance. Before judgment and punishment, God gave them a second chance. God does not abandon us or lash out in revenge when we sin but he aggressively pursues us through His word, His Spirit in us and through the words of others. He desires for us to return to Him. When you move away from God remember He is pursuing you to return to Him.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.29.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.29.11.

Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

TUESDAY — Shout Out to God
Big Point: Speak out with gratitude concerning the goodness in your life.

        Every day millions of people wake up and start the day with a beverage of some kind. It could be coffee, milk, juice, or water. Clean water. For millions, this beverage is in the cupboard, in the refrigerator, and it even comes out of this built-in spout when they effortlessly turn a knob. How awesome is that?
        Every day millions of people eat a few meals and many snacks through out the day. They have food in their cupboards, in their refrigerator, and it is available in most every store. How lucky are these people?
        Have you ever been in a place where the previous statements were not true for you? You woke up to nothing to drink or eat all day. How about standing in line for hours to see if the local food bank can help with groceries? How about walking 3 miles, every day, to get brown, dirty water to drink and use to make meals for your family?
        Does your life reflect a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the things God has given you and your family? Does your life shout out the goodness that God has given you?

READ…What does the Bible say?
Psalm 105:1 (New Living Translation)
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Psalm 92:1-2 (New Living Translation) It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening.

THINK…Find the answers
According to Psalm 105:1,what is it that we should let the whole world know what?

In Psalm 92, we are given instructions on what to do and how often to do it. What instructions are given, and what is the frequency with which we’re supposed to do follow them? Instructions: Frequency:

LIVE…What will you do now?
There is a difference between being thankfulness and gratitude. Thankfulness is being conscious of the benefits received. Gratitude is being appreciative for the good in your life. Henri Frederic Amiel puts it this way: “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in act.” How often do you appreciate out loud the good people and gifts in your life?

The scriptures tell us to give thanks and shout it out loud (tell the world). List three things that you can demonstrate or speak out daily to show thankfulness and gratitude to God:




Put this list in a place that will remind you everyday to live life filled with praise for all the good things God has given you.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray that God will open your eyes and your heart to the good things in life and all the things that we have to be thankful for. Ask God to provide wisdom to find ways to shout praise, tell the world, and become advocates to help those in need.

• One billion people do not have adequate drinking water.
• Every 19 seconds, someone dies from a curable water related cause.

Visit to find out how you can help!

Vertical (CedarCreek’s high school ministry) just started the Thirst Campaign.
Goal: Raise $5,000 for a well in Honduras.
Action: 19 Day Challenge, November 20th—December 9th

16:7-10 Although God delivered Judah and Israel when they were outnumbered in battle, they repeatedly sought outside help instead of relying on God. It is not a sin to use human means to solve our problems but it is a sin to trust in them more than in God, to think they are better than God’s ways or to leave God out of the problem-solving process.
17:7-9 Jehoshaphat realized that knowing God’s commandments was the first step in getting his people to live as they should. Because of this action the nation began to follow God. Exposure to Bible teaching and Bible study are essential to living as God intends.
18:3-8 Before making the commitment with King Ahab, Jehoshaphat rightly sought God’s advice but chose to ignore it. It does us no good to seek God’s advice and then not follow through with it. Real love for God is shown not in just seeking God’s advice but also in following His direction.
18:31 Jehoshaphat’s troubles began once he joined forces with evil King Ahab, but instead of just accepting the consequences of his sin he cried out to God who saved him. While we may deserve what happens to us because of sin there is no reason not to cry out for God’s help in all times of trouble.
20:6 Jehoshaphat’s prayer to the Lord had several essential ingredients that still hold true today: he committed the situation to God, acknowledging that only God could save the nation; he sought God’s favor because his people were God’s people; he acknowledged God’s sovereignty over the current situation; he praised God’s glory and took comfort in His promises; and he had complete dependence on God, not himself, for deliverance.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.28.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 11.28.11.

Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, a time we traditionally stop and give thanks for the blessings in our lives, for things going well. But what about everything else? What about thanking God for what He’s done or has yet to do in your life? Right now it may be hard to see God at work when our country is facing financial difficulties and overseas threats. Right now it may be hard to see God at work when so many in our community are without jobs, some without homes and food. But whether we see the signs or not, God is at work in our country. He is also at work in our community, and He wants to be part of our daily lives.
G.K. Chesterton has a great quote that puts this in perspective: “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” Recently, a Life- Group celebrated Thanksgiving, but instead of going around the room and sharing their blessings they thought they should spend time reviewing their 2011 prayer requests and reflect on how God had answered those requests. They were surprised at how long the list of answered prayers was, and recalled events and blessings long forgotten about. They also recalled requests that didn’t have a happy ending, or are still ongoing, and were reminded to continue to bring those requests to God and to trust in His wisdom and power in those situations and to always be thankful.
This past weekend, in Ben’s talk about gratitude, he used the biblical illustration of ten men Jesus healed from a terrible disease, leprosy. Only one of these men returned and expressed gratitude to Jesus for healing him. If you don’t know anything about leprosy, it is a progressive disease whose main indicator is skin lesions. Left untreated, leprosy can cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes. Secondary infections can result in tissue loss causing fingers and toes to become shortened and deformed ( Because leprosy can be transmitted through contact, in biblical times, as well as modern third world countries, they formed leper colonies where the people were isolated and removed from the main population (Read more about this on Monday).
Even after a life-changing transformation, only one leper remembered to show gratitude to Jesus. How often do we react to God the same way? We worry and fret and pray about events and people in our lives and then when God answers our prayers we forget to thank Him and move onto the next prayer request.
Even though we’re in the thick of the holiday season, take time this week to honestly evaluate your level of gratitude towards God. Spend time daily thanking and praising God, and taking communion. We pray that this Living it Out Bible study will encourage you to have a grateful heart, during good and bad times.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
-John F. Kennedy


MONDAY — See and Recognize God
Big Point: Our relationship with God grows as we learn to see Him, recognize His work in our lives, and become thankful.

        Lepers, like the men in this week’s Bible story, would have lived on the outskirts of town apart from everyone. If they had to come near “normal” people for any reason, they would shout and announce their presence. How degrading and humiliating! Imagine for a moment having to shout out your biggest, ugliest, most embarrassing faults any time you came into contact with another person. Now imagine that in an instant all those things disappeared. Once the lepers were declared clean, they could go back to their families and lives. Certainly it’s a moment in life a person would never forget.
        Yet according to this week’s story, 9 out of 10 people took the gift of healing that God gave them without being thankful. Granted, this is a small sampling of people. However, the point remains. Thankfulness does not come naturally. It must be a conscious act. A decision. An attitude that we decide to put on.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
-Eric Hoffer, Reflections On
The Human Condition

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 17:14-15 (New Living Translation)
14He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”

Psalm 34:8 (New Living Translation)
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

THINK…Find the answers
Read Luke 17:14-15. What directions did Jesus give the ten lepers? What happened when they followed Jesus’ directions? Direction: Result:

In verse 13, the lepers called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Look again at verses 14 and 15. What does the one man who returns call Jesus? How are they different?
Calls Jesus:

According to Psalm 34, how do we know that God is good?

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old fashioned ingratitude.”
-Robert Brault

LIVE…What will you do now?
All of the lepers received healing. Do you think the one who returned gained anything in addition to healing? If so, what was it?

How is it that the other nine lepers could just go about living their new lives? Why do you suppose we fail to see God and recognize His hand in our lives? Think about the moments of your day when you feel the farthest from God.

What do you think it means to “taste and see” God’s goodness? How is it related to taking refuge in God?

From what area of your life might God be calling you to seek refuge in Him? (Probably something that is taking up a lot of time and energy.) How can you turn it over to Him?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Thank God for who He is and what He has done for you. Commit to a heart of thankfulness this week, each day, throughout the day. Pray that through this discipline you will grow in a deeper relationship with the Lord.

“Thank Me for everything; trust in Me at all times. These simple disciplines will keep you open to My loving Presence.”
-Sarah Young, Jesus

11:4 God supported the rebellion because it was the nation’s punishment for turning away from God and because He wanted to prevent the smaller kingdom from destruction. In doing so, God preserved David’s lineage and kept intact His plans for the Messiah to be a descendant of David.
12:6-8 God lessened His punishment when Israel’s leaders confessed their sins, humbled themselves and recognized God’s justice in punishing them. It is never too late to repent, even in the midst of punishment. Regardless of what we have done God is always willing to return us to fellowship with Him.
13:8 Jeroboam’s army was cursed because of the golden calves he carried into battle. It was as if he put his sin into physical form so he could carry it around. Anything that you cherish more than your relationship with God is idolatry and becomes your golden calf. It will eventually drag you down. Let go of anything that interferes with your relationship with God.
14:1-6 Asa’s reign was marked with peace because he did what was pleasing to the Lord, his God. This repeat throughout Chronicles-obedience to God leads to lasting peace with God and others. Obeying God is the first step to peace.
15:14, 15 Many people find it difficult to fully commit to anything, but Asa and his people were different – they clearly committed themselves to God. This decision and their wholehearted commitment pleased God and lead to peace for the nation. Peace comes as a by-product from wholeheartedly giving your life over to God.