Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.18.12

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FRIDAY — What is Your Rhythm of Life?
Big Point: By developing a rhythm of life, you can effectively engage in the spiritual disciplines and live a life that allows you to be available to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

This week’s Bible study was intended for you to gain not only knowledge of the Trinity and its truth but also to learn how to apply it to life. The C.S. Lewis Institute developed what’s called “Instructions for Developing a Personal Rule of Life.” These are rules drawn by you to help develop your spiritual disciplines. These “Personal Rules” do not mean that you only engage in inward disciplines or private disciplines. Your Personal Rule should include corporate disciplines (such as worship, confession, celebration, or spiritual direction) and outward disciplines (such as service, simplicity, or chastity). The C.S. Lewis Institute provides this further explanation:

“A ‘Rule of Life’ is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. A Rule establishes a rhythm for life in which is helpful for being formed by the Spirit, a rhythm that reflects a love for God and respect for how He has made us. The disciplines which we build into our rhythm of life help us to shed the “old self” and allow our “new self” in Christ to be formed. Spiritual disciplines are means of grace by which God can nourish us. Ultimately a Rule should help you to love God more, so if it becomes a legalistic way of earning points with God or impressing others, it should be scrapped. If the traditional, ancient term “rule” concerns you because it sounds legalistic, think of “rule” as a “rhythm of life” or as a “Curriculum in Christlikeness” (Dallas Willard), or as a “Game Plan for Morphing” (John Ortberg).

The following graphic is meant to illustrate this “rhythm” or “rule of life” a bit more. Take a look and then answer the questions that follow:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Provide a clear self-assessment that briefly describes your current situation in life–family responsibilities, work schedule and other life circumstances. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your character?

Are you blessed, for example, with self-control, a compassionate heart, a bright mind, or a spirit of joy? Which vices do you most struggle with?

 

Describe the way in which you practice specific disciplines (how and when to pray, serve, practice simplicity). How do these disciplines address the areas where you need discipline and growth?

 

Where do you sense that God is calling you to stretch and grow? Where do you want to change?

 

If you could hear your own eulogy, what would you want to hear?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you take the time to develop your “rhythm of life” and to always be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

 

Visit: http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/338 to get additional instructions on C. S. Lewis Institute’s “Instructions for Developing a Personal Rule of Life”

Weekend Updates!

  • Who will you invite to our next series? “FIGHT!” Starting the weekend of May 26th, a new series will begin that addresses how to fight for your country, your faith, your marriage, your soul and how to fight your fears. We encourage you to invite someone to this series of messages.
  • Ready to commit to Missional Membership? If you completed your Missional Membership study (either online, by completing the Missional Membership workbook or through the LifeGroup DVD), feel free to attend any one of the Commitment Day sessions during all four services this weekend.
  • Does your teenager feel trapped? Suicide is rising as the number one cause of death among teenagers. The cause? Bullying. Join Fusion (6-7:30pm) and Vertical (6:30-8:00pm) this Sunday as they continue to tackle these issues in their series “Trapped.”
  • Are You Interested in Joining a Ministry? Become an Intern. The CedarCreek internship program is a year long opportunity that allows individuals to get personal ministry experience and grow in their faith. Send an email to Wade at wades@cedarcreek.tv for more information.

 

Living It Out: May 2012
“I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”
Galatians 2:21 (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:
Forgotten God
Francis Chan

The Knowledge of the Holy
A.W. Tozer

cslewisinstitute.org

gotquestions.org

 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Barb Roose
Diana Patton
Stephanie Coil

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.17.12

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THURSDAY– Living by the Spirit’s Power
Big Point: Are you living by the Power of the Holy Spirit?

The following is an excerpt of a children’s story by Richmond Park Church in the United Kingdom on how to live by the Holy Spirit:

“One day George and Susan went to the fair. They went upside down on the roller coaster. They bumped into each other in bumper cars. They won a stuffed animal. Next on the agenda was the creepy “house of horrors.” George did not want to go. Susan teased him that he was too scared.

“It doesn’t feel right,” George explained. “Scared is different. It’s like an alarm bell ringing inside of me, warning me not to go any further. It’s God’s way of letting me know there are things in the ‘house of horrors’ he’s not happy about.”

“How did you get an alarm bell inside you?” asked Susan.

“God put it in me because I’m friends with Jesus. He’s called the Holy Spirit. He’s not just an alarm bell. He does other stuff too,” said George.

“Like what?” inquired Susan.

“Like when I read Bible stories with the Holy Spirit, I know exactly what part of the story that God wants me to learn about and I understand every word of it. It’s like having someone sit next to me and explaining what the difficult parts mean. And when I’m sad He makes me feel better. Like getting a hug on the inside. And He gives each person something different that they can be good at, so that they can use that thing to help each other.”

“So the Holy Spirit is like an alarm bell, a teacher, a hug and a giver of useful things,” summarized Susan.

“Yes He is!” said George.

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”
Corrie Ten Boom

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
Now we’re going to look at Galatians 5:16-26 a little bit at a time and learn what these verses say about living by the Holy Spirit’s power.

 

According to Galatians 5:16-18, who is supposed to guide our lives? What does our sinful nature want us to do? What does the Holy Spirit want us to do?

 

Galatians 5:16-18 (New Living Translation)
16So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

Answer:

 

According to Galatians 5:19-21, what are the results of following our sinful nature? What will we lose by living this way?

Galatians 5:19-21 (New Living Translation)
19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Answer:

 

According to Galatians 5:22-23, what fruits does the Holy Spirit produce in our lives?

Galatians 5:22-23 (New Living Translation)
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Answer:

 

According to Galatians 5:24-26, what have Christians done with the passions and desires of their sinful nature? In what part of our lives should we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading?

Galatians 5:24-26 (New Living Translation)
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit—our fears are taken away, our longing for God is satisfied, we will overflow with love, we become free from judging ourselves by the good that we do or becoming despondent over our failure to do good. Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your life? Why or why not?

 

When do you follow the desires of your sinful nature?

 

Everyone needs help in developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). What fruit of the Spirit have you developed in your life? Where do you need help?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Again, thank God for the Holy Spirit that is with us always. Ask God to help develop in you ALL the fruits of the Spirit.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.16.12

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WEDNESDAY– God the Holy Spirit
Big Point: Holy Spirit is fully God, always present in Christians’ lives, not a force from God.

The Holy Spirit is the least understood Person of the Trinity. Dictionary.com defines the Holy Spirit as “1. the spirit of God. 2. the presence of God as part of the person’s religious experience. 3. Holy Ghost.” But what does this really mean?

Francis Chan, in his book Forgotten God, tackled the theology of the Holy Spirit in the chapter “Theology of the Holy Spirit 101.” Chan looked at the theological issues of the Holy Spirit that shape our faith and behavior. But he prefaced his explanation of the Holy Spirit by saying, “I realized how ludicrous it would be for anyone to say they were going to explain the Holy Spirit … know that even as you seek to understand the Spirit more, he is so much more and bigger than you will ever be able to grasp… the Bible says we cannot fully understand God, and I am certainly no exception to that rule.”

Yet, Chan continued his writing by explaining some practical truths about who the Holy Spirit is and what he does in our lives. He provides these seven truths about the Holy Spirit:

  1. The Holy Spirit is a Person
  2. The Holy Spirit is God
  3. The Holy Spirit is Eternal and Holy
  4. The Holy Spirit has his own mind, and he prays for us
  5. The Holy Spirit has emotions
  6. The Holy Spirit has his own desires and will
  7. The Holy Spirit is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient

Let’s read what the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
First, let’s look at the work of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. Read John 16:12-15. What word does John use to describe the Holy Spirit? What does John say the Holy Spirit will do when he comes?

John 16:12-15 (New Living Translation)
12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

Answer:

 

According to Ephesians 3:5, what does the Holy Spirit do?

Ephesians 3:5 (New Living Translation)
5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.

Answer:

 

In 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, we hear again that God reveals things by his Spirit. Take a look at these verses. Verse 13 helps us to know how the Bible was written and how the Holy Spirit works in us and in our pastors today.

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 (New Living Translation)
10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.

 

What does verse seven in Psalm 139 reassure us about the Holy Spirit’s presence?

Psalm 139:7 (New Living Translation)
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
In the past, how have you defined or explained the Holy Spirit?

 

 

How will you explain the Holy Spirit to others now after reading these Scripture verses? Do you feel like St. Basil the Great as he described the Holy Spirit?
Describe how you feel.

 

 

Have you ever experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence? If so, describe what that was like. How did you know it was the Holy Spirit?

 

What does the Spirit do? His works are ineffable in majesty, and innumerable in quantity. How can we even ponder what extends beyond the ages? What did he do before creation began? How great are the graces he showered on creation? What power will he wield in the age to come? He existed; he pre-existed; he co-existed with the Father and the Son before the ages. Even if you can imagine anything beyond the ages, you will discover the Spirit is even further beyond.
St. Basil the Great

 

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and to tell you what he has heard. Thank God for His ever present Holy Spirit.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.15.12

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TUESDAY — What is “Trinitarian Theology?”
Big Point: The Trinity is “a-logical.” It’s not “like” anything else that we can define in our human experience. Yet, evidence of the Trinity gives us a picture of who God is.

There have been many well-meaning attempts to describe what the Trinity is “like.” Some of you may have been taught that the Trinity is “like” the three states of water (vapor, liquid, ice) or an egg (shell, yolk, white). While these analogies attempt to explain the divine mystery of the Trinity, the truth is that the Trinity is not “like” anything. Why? Because it is “a-logical” – it is beyond our human comprehension. Rather than try to identify what the Trinity is “like,” today we are going to look at a description of the Trinity and how each is intimately involved in our lives today.

There is a summary statement about the Trinity in the box that you can read and keep in mind as we study the Trinity today.

 

SUMMARY STATEMENT
TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY

1. God is Three Persons
(Genesis 1:26)
2. Each Person is Fully God
(John 14:26, 2 Peter 1:17, John 8:58, Acts 5:3-4)
3. There is only ONE God
(Deuteronomy 6:4)

This principle gives us a framework and context to understand the Trinity as much as our human minds can comprehend it. We cannot switch the order of this principle or else we end up with something other than the Trinity.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
We tend to rebel against things that we don’t understand or cannot fully comprehend. Many religions, even though claiming to be Christian, reject the Trinity because it defies human comprehension. Read Isaiah 55:8-9. Why is it God’s prerogative to not fully share everything that we need (or want) to know about Him?

 

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

Answer:

 

If you were following along in our Daily Bible Reading, last week you read chapters in Deuteronomy about the covenant (promises) God made to the Israelites while they were in the country of Moab. Deuteronomy 29:29 is an interesting verse, especially when reviewed in the context of the Trinity. While we may not be able to fully comprehend the Trinity, what are we still responsible for carrying out?

 

Deuteronomy 29:29 (New Living Translation)
29 “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
In the following grid, you will have the opportunity to review the different functions of the Godhead. Most importantly, you will have space to reflect on what your experience has been with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Remember, we were created in the image of God, so we cannot truly know who God is if we do not experience the Triune God.

 

God the Father
-Planner of salvation
-Provider of all of our needs
-Administrator of Justice in the world
How have you experienced God the Father in your life?

 

God the Son (Jesus Christ)
-Used by God to bring Grace into this world
-Modeled tremendous compassion and love while on earth
-The only way to God (John 14:6)
How have you experienced God the Son (Jesus Christ) in your life?

 

God the Holy Spirit
-Indwells within every believer
-He is our guide
-He is the source of Truth and reveals God to us
How have you experienced God the Holy Spirit in your life?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
As you think about the different experiences that you have had with the Godhead, our hope is that you realize all of the ways that God has been intimately involved in your life. No matter where you find yourself spiritually today, take time to pray for God to reveal Himself to you so that you continue to experience the fullness of a Triune God.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.14.12

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The Living it Out cover story has always been reserved for interesting and thought provoking illustrations to highlight the weekend message topic. While Barb Roose did a splendid job covering the fundamental basics of the topic in her sermon on The Trinity, the Living it Out writing team was stumped to find a story to captivate and illustrate The Trinity.

Yet, as the writing team began to think about ideas, one Living it Out writer mentioned that she would often see inscriptions in the churches that she attended while growing up that read: “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost or God the Spirit.” She did not think much of it but as she grew older she began to wonder, “What do these three references to God mean and why does it seem to be mentioned in just about every church that she attended?” She remembered singing the old hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty. God in three persons, blessed trinity”; which in reality confused her even more and provided no further clarity. The song referenced “God in three persons.” God is a person? The answer is: Yes!

O Blessed Trinity!
O simplest Majesty!
O Three in One!
Thou art for ever
God alone.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.
Frederick W. Faber

Well, as it turns out, this Living it Out writer is not alone. In fact, even the most learned theology scholars like A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis find it challenging to package up The Trinity into a nice neat box. A.W. Tozer described in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, what it is like to actually have knowledge of The Trinity:

“To meditate on the three Persons of the Godhead is to walk in thought through the garden eastward in Eden and to tread on holy ground. Our sincerest effort to grasp the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity must remain forever futile, and only by deepest reverence can it be saved from actual presumption. Some persons who reject all they cannot explain have denied that God is a Trinity. Subjecting the Most High to their cold, level-headed scrutiny, they conclude that it is impossible that He could be both One and Three. These forget that their whole life is enshrouded in mystery. They fail to consider that any real explanation of even the simplest phenomenon in nature lies hidden in obscurity and can no more be explained than can the mystery of the Godhead.”

Tozer goes on to explain that “The doctrine of The Trinity is truth for the heart …love and faith are at home in the mystery of the Godhead. Let reason kneel in reverence outside.”

Challenging and mystical? Yes. Essential to spiritual growth? Without a doubt. Worthy of further discussion? Absolutely. Take time this week to put aside any level-headed scrutiny and dig down deep into this Bible study on The Trinity!

MONDAY — What is the Trinity?
Big Point: While the “trinity” is not specifically found in Scripture, it can be shown that the Bible teaches the essential truths which lead to the trinity doctrine.

The Latin meaning for trinity is “trinitas” which means “the number three—a triad.” While it is true the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, this term is the foundational doctrine of God in the Christian faith. It is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who make up God. Throughout scripture, there are references to God speaking singularly and in plurality. Take a look at the following Biblical statements:

  • There is only one God (Romans 3:30).
  • The Father is God (1 Corinthians 8:6).
  • Jesus is God (John 1:1).
  • The Holy Spirit is God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
  • Jesus is not the Father (John 1:1, Luke 3:21-22).
  • Jesus is not the Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).
  • The Father is not the Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).

 

“I think [the doctrine of the Trinity] to be the highest and deepest of all Divine mysteries”
Jonathon Edwards
(An Unpublished Treatise on the Trinity).

 

Knowing the different parts as referenced above, they all act as one person. A.W. Tozer writes in his book Knowledge of the Holy, “A popular belief among Christians divides the work of God between the three Persons, giving a specific part to each, as, for instance, creation to the Father, redemption to the Son, and regeneration to the Holy Spirit. This is partly true but not wholly so, for God cannot so divide Himself that one Person works while another is inactive. In the Scriptures the three Persons are shown to act in harmonious unity in all the mighty works that are wrought throughout the universe.”

The following scriptures will further describe the harmonious unity of the Trinity.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
In Genesis 1:26, God did not say “Let me make human beings in my image” or “Look, the human beings have become like me.” In Genesis 3:22 and in Genesis 11:7, God did not say “I will go down”. What does God use instead to refer to Himself?

Genesis 1:26 (New Living Translation)
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

Genesis 3:22 (New Living Translation)
Then the LORD God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!”

Genesis 11:7 (New Living Translation)
Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”

Answer:

 

We believe in the one true God,
We believe in Father Spirit Son,
We believe that good has won.
“Manifesto”
City Harmonic

 

What type of action is taking place in Isaiah 6:8? Who is the scripture referring to?

Isaiah 6:8 (New Living Translation)
8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Describe what your views of the Trinity were before reading today’s information.

 

 

After reading the information provided about the Trinity, write out the new things you learned.

 

 

A.W. Tozer said that “the doctrine of the Trinity is truth for the heart” in that the Trinity cannot likely be satisfactorily explained. Describe where your heart is regarding the Trinity and its truth (NOTE: tomorrow’s study will delve deeper into the issue of applying the Trinity to our lives).

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you to wholly and completely accept Him for who He says He is– that He is God in three persons.

 

Further commentary: gotquestions.org answered this question: “What does the Bible Say about the Trinity” with this response: “In Genesis 1:1; the Hebrew plural noun “Elohim” is used. In Genesis 1:26; 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8; the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word “Elohim” and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for “God,” “Elohim,” definitely allows for the Trinity.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.11.12

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FRIDAY — Accept God’s story for your life
Big Point: God wants you to accept His story for your life by receiving His free gift of salvation, and that of grace, and to extend that same type of grace to others.

It’s likely that we all will subtly fall into the if we do “X,” then God will do “Y” institutionalized way of thinking even after hearing Ben’s message this past weekend, and even weeks after conducting this Bible study. Sadly, we’ll often believe Satan’s lie that says that we are not allowed to have God’s free gift of grace. Even worse, we will stand in judgment believing that we deserve God’s grace more than others.

Grace is not reserved for good people, grace underscores the goodness of God
– Andy Stanley

To help us close out the week, we’d like to share an excerpt from Andy Stanley’s book, The Grace of God. We highly encourage you to get this book as it will greatly bless you and allow you to continue your study on God’s grace. Here’s what Andy has to say about what God says about your story

“In your story you are going to continue searching for a reason God should love you. In your story you are going to continue finding reasons he shouldn’t. So here’s my suggestion: give up your version of your story and embrace his. In his story, he loves you no matter what you’ve done. In His story, He doesn’t love you because of what you’ve done. In His story, He could not love you more and He will never love you less. It’s a better story. It’s a true story. It’s a story of grace. The grace of God!”

We pray that this Bible study has encouraged you not to fall back into the rut that you have to earn grace—that form of institutionalized thinking that we mentioned at the beginning of the week. Take some time to answer a few more questions as we close this week’s Bible study and pray about what God wants you to know and do this week.

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
We spent a substantial amount of time reviewing and breaking down Ephesians 2:1-10 throughout the week. Take a moment to review chapter two and verses one through ten in their entirety and write out what most resonates with you and why.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Answer

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
What were the two most profound things you learned this week as it relates to the grace of God?

 

God loves our praises to Him and He especially loves when we surrender our will to His. Take some time to write an “I surrender” letter to God on a separate piece of paper and define what you are willing to give up in order for Him to do the good things He has planned for your life.

 

Write out the names of two people that you can think of who would benefit from hearing this “Grace of God” message. Then, go to cedarcreek.tv and scroll to the bottom of the page and find “Media Player” and forward this message to them.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you stay out of the grace rut of “institutionalized”, self-exiled or self-righteous thinking. Ask Him to help you accept His story for your life and to learn about ways to encourage others as they accept God’s amazing grace!

 

Weekend Updates!

  • Watch Lee Powell dance to benefit injured army veterans— “Dancing With The Military Stars” is a benefit and community event that will take place on Saturday, May 12th, sponsored by The Arms Forces nonprofit that assists military veterans who have a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress or other invisible wounds. You won’t want to miss our very own lead Pastor Lee Powell as he puts his best foot forward. Follow this link for ticket information: http://www.thearmsforces.org/dancingwiththemilitarystars/index.html
  • 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.
  • 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: May 2012
“I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”
Galatians 2:21 (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:
The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

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

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.10.12

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.

 

THURSDAY — You are a Masterpiece!
Big Point: Our past sins and the life we lived before coming to Christ should not cloud our vision of who God has called us to be.

Who do you see when you look in the mirror each day? Do you see the person you were before you began your relationship with Christ or are you holding onto the past and the person you were, or the things you did to others, allowing them to define your image?

We sometimes hold onto our past and identify ourselves as who we once were, or allow others to do so. Whether it be a murderer, thief, addict, abused child or a neglected spouse, now that you’ve established a relationship with Christ, is that who you truly are? When we define ourselves, we often focus on the negative aspects of our lives, such as the former addictions, the abuse we endured or perhaps inflicted upon someone else, or even by the pesky 15-20 pounds that we can’t seem to lose.

If only we viewed ourselves as Christ does, we’d see in our reflection his beauty and love. Our reflection changed the moment we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells that “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come.” There is no greater love than the love He has for each of us. Focusing on our past or allowing others to define us is a rejection of that love. Who knows us better than our Heavenly Father, the One who created us in His image, and knew us before we were formed? Take pride in knowing that we have been molded by His hands to be His vessels.

We sometimes find it difficult to understand our identity as Christ’s masterpiece through the confusion of our “criminal minded” sin, fear or doubt. We must learn to believe that God’s promises are true. Paul shows us in Ephesians that God loves us too much to let us stay as we are.

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
According to Ephesians 2:10, what has to happen for us to do the good things God has planned for us?

Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

Answer:

 

What does Psalm 139:14 tell us how God made us and how we should view ourselves?

Psalm 139:14 (New Living Translation)
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Identify who or what in your past is holding you back from living the life Christ intended for you to live.

 

 

One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the opportunity to start a new life in Him. Do you feel that you received a fresh and beautiful start when you began your new life with God? What does your life look like now because of this fresh start?

 

 

Have you come to the realization that you are wonderfully complex and that God created you that way for a purpose? What got you to this point?

 

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way.
I wonder if my life could really change at all.
All this earth.
Could all that is lost ever be found.
Could a garden come up from this ground at all.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
“Beautiful Things,” by Gungor

 

Do you know the good things that God planned for you long ago as outlined in Ephesians 2:10? If so, what are they?

 

 

 

And finally, take time today to reflect on how you truly feel now that you know that God’s desire is to turn you into His very own masterpiece.

 

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Think back to the moment when you first decided to live for Christ. Ask God to reveal that moment to you and joyously allow Him to mold you, like a clay vessel, into the masterpiece He created you to be.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.09.12

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.

 

WEDENSDAY — Pure and Simple: Salvation
Big Point: Jesus Christ has given us the one thing we could never earn on our own to restore our relationship with our Father—and that’s salvation!

In the beginning of the week we focused on our need for salvation because we are all “criminal minded” sinners. When we accept this free gift of salvation, it’s hard for us to grasp the idea of receiving something for nothing. We all quickly fall into what we know of this world and how it works around us – we think we need to earn it to truly have it. Sometimes we feel to own something also means we deserve it. The problem with this is that we could never truly live up to the standards needed to earn righteousness. The amazing transaction on the cross was God treating His only son, Jesus Christ, as if he had lived your life; so God could treat you as if you had lived the life of Christ. The way God delivered salvation through Jesus Christ was a great example in a world that is filled with suffering. So we rejoice that we worship a God who is not immune to suffering but actually conquers it.

Salvation is an undeserved gift given to us through grace. The “works” idea that so many people fall into trying to deserve or earn salvation is tiring and always ends in frustration, guilt, and eventually abandonment—like prison. The salvation we are given is not a “cheap grace” and trying to purchase it with our righteous acts is an insult to our Father. Imagine giving a gift to a friend and those friends insisting to pay you for the gift repeatedly even after your refusal? Wouldn’t that be insulting to your grace and what you were trying to do? Why is God’s gift any different?

If you are reading this week’s Living It Out and God has shown you for the first time the need of His salvation and the readiness of God to give His gift through grace and love, there will be a prayer known as the “Salvation Prayer” at the end of today’s Living It Out. Jesus is always knocking; this is another chance to open the door and invite him into your life.

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
After reading Monday’s Living It Out we realize that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. If being a sinner and needing help is something we all share, explain why is the following scripture so important?

 

Mark 2:16-17 (New International Version)
16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Answer:

 

After reading the next verse, how do you think God really views our works and “good deeds”? How important is it that Christ came to release us from this sin?

Isaiah 64:6 (New International Version)
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Answer:

 

After reading God’s answer to Paul in the following verse, how important is it for us not to cover our weaknesses with good deeds and righteous acts? Christ’s power is salvation; how can this forgiveness change your life in the future? How has this forgiveness changed your life so far?

 

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.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Why is that we feel we have to be qualified to be God’s child instead of just thirsting for His salvation?

 

Do you get tired of constantly trying to measure up—comparing your works to others around you? Why do we understand the aspect of receiving a gift but have a hard time understanding the gift of salvation from our Heavenly Father?

 

Good works don’t save a person; but they’re good evidence they are saved. Did you catch that? Write down why this is important to understand. What is the difference?

 

“If you’re a Christian, you’re a member of the only group in the world where the only qualification for membership is that you’re unqualified. The problem is, after becoming a Christian most of us spend most of our lives trying to qualify.”
Steve Brown, Seminary Pastor and Syndicated Radio Host

 

If you have prayed the prayer of salvation before and accepted Christ into your life, describe how this has positively impacted your life and the life of others? If you feel you have strayed off the beaten path by trying to earn grace, this is a perfect opportunity to point yourself back toward God’s grace—free of judgment and condemnation.

If you have not accepted Christ as your personal savior,
we invite you to read this prayer of salvation:

Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness of my sins. I believe Jesus is the son of God and that he died for me and he rose again. I give you my life and I thank you for new life. Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins and I ask that you transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself. Fill me with your spirit so I can know you, follow you, and serve you for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.08.12

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– Wonderful Grace—Sufficient for You
Big Point: From the human perspective, God’s grace is sufficient for only some. From God’s perspective, God’s grace is sufficient for all.

Ten years ago on May 11, Eric Smallridge left Pensacola Beach, Florida after a night of drinking. He thought he could drive home safely without incident. At twenty-four-years-old, Smallridge thought he was invincible. He was wrong. He lost control of his car, sending another vehicle carrying 20-year-olds Meagan Napier and Lisa Dickson careening into a tree. The girls were killed on impact. Smallridge stood trial and was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison.

It would seem that Meagan Napier’s mother, Renee, would have every reason in the world to angrily appeal the Judge’s sentence of twenty-two years. Why not his whole life? After all, Smallridge’s decision cost Renee’s daughter her life. However, Renee’s attitude has been astounding. She has not only forgiven Smallridge, but in 2006, both girls’ families requested that his sentence be reduced. He will be released in November of this year.

What could lead a parent who has lost her child to forgive such a debt? “I could be angry, hateful and bitter,” stated Renee Napier. “But I didn’t want to live my life that way. There was no way I could move on and live a happy life without forgiving Eric. I’ve grown to love him and his family. They have been so supportive. This isn’t about me anymore. This is about Meagan and Lisa.”

Keeping her promise to make it about Meagan and Lisa, Mrs. Napier has been making presentations around the state of Florida, speaking to teenagers about the dangers of drunk driving. Eric Smallridge has been granted special permission to leave his prison to co-present these talks. They make a powerful appeal to students who will hopefully receive the message that drinking and driving is dangerous.

But it’s the message of forgiveness that transcends in this story. “We live in a world with a lot of pain and heartache, I want to promote love and forgiveness and help break that cycle of hatred,” said Napier. And once you forgive, grace is freely extended.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible
According to this passage, what was our state before Christ gave us life? According to verse seven, why has Christ shown this mercy and given us this grace?

Ephesians 2:4-7 (New Living Translation)
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

Answers:

 

“The grace of God always precedes the law of God’s grace”
– Andy Stanley

 

LIVE ..… What will you do now?
Think about your reaction to the story of Eric Smallridge. What do you think of Renee Napier’s decision and ability to forgive Eric? Do you find it unbelievable? Do you find it difficult to believe that God could forgive even beyond this magnitude?

 

Describe the times when you have craved grace when your guilt was exposed?

 

It’s likely that Eric Smallridge craved grace when his guilt was exposed. Yet, Renee Napier did not “crucify” him. Instead she created a relationship with Eric. Can you name individuals in the Bible who likely should have gotten the “legal smack down” for something wrong that they did but instead their relationship with God increased? Has anyone ever extended grace to you like Renee Napier extended to Eric? Describe what that felt like.

 

It is in the nature of God to grant grace. Why does it seem that we as humans don’t have the same capacity to accept grace?

 

He is jealous for me.
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree.
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden.
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful You are.
And how great Your affections are for me.
And O how He loves us
Oh, O how He loves us
How He loves us all.
“He Loves Us,” David Crowder

 

Spend some time thinking about the nature of God. Do you believe and trust that God is who He says he is? What evidence do you have of that in your life?

 

Pray … God, what do you want to know and do?
Begin by meditating on the grace of God. Ask God to remind you what it is like to feel His infinite grace. Ask God to help you accept His true nature. Ask God to reveal any areas in your life where you may need to extend grace to another.