Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.31.12

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THURSDAY — Fight: With the Way You Live
Big Point: Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king. –1 Peter 2:17 

The teaching of the Word of God is that a Christian is responsible to be a good citizen, seeking peace within the state. Clearly, this is the intent of the Word of God. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Government was never meant to be our master—not as a ruthless monarchy, a dictatorship or an oppressive parliament. The American founding fathers were convinced that people have the full power to govern themselves, and that people may choose to give up some of their rights for the general good and the protection of rights. Nevertheless, each person should be self-governed, and this is why virtue is so important for citizens.

So long as government fosters what is “good”, we Christians approve of it. In as much as government promotes what is “wrong”, we are compelled to disapprove of it. This does not necessarily mean that we are in rebellion against government, but instead we seek what leads to peace so that we may worship God and thus honor Him.

Authority by Michael Stark
Sermoncentral.com

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
Have you ever owed someone something and thought that it was not significant to worry about? How about holding back something because you thought it wouldn’t make a difference? What does the Bible say?

Romans 13:7 (New Living Translation)
Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. 

Answer:

 

In Romans it describes where our authority comes from. What holds us to the idea of respecting authority? Does it matter if we understand it? Why? How does it affect our relationship with God when we rebel against authority?

 

To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says…but trying in a new way, a less worried way.
-C. S. Lewis

 

 

Romans 13:1-2 (New Living Translation)
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 

Answer:

 

Authority sometimes leaves us feeling uncertain and concerned about our future. What does the Bible say we should be doing to support our leaders?

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (New Living Translation)
1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleases God our Savior. 

Answer:

 

Dependence upon God makes heroes of ordinary people like you and me.
-Bruce Wilkinson

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
After reading Romans 13:1-2, you may be wondering what the role is of a Christian in our modern society? Must we obey unjust laws? Is the power of the state absolute? Is there a place for disobedience?

 

 

Before reading today’s lesson, how did you think about authority and how it relates to the Bible? Did it occur to you that the Bible instructs us to respect and honor our own government?

 

 

It starts at home. What are you doing in your own life, as an individual, to make a difference? We can’t expect our country to change if we aren’t willing to make that change to live for God ourselves. Are there behaviors in your life that should be transformed to honor these scriptures?

 

 

Studies show that the average person wastes what amounts to two hours a day sitting at traffic lights, surfing the internet, or daydreaming. One minute doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but what if we put one of those minutes a day to use by praying for America? We call that The One Minute Challenge. Read more at OneMinuteChallenge.org.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Pray that the Lord lifts up those in authority to fulfill God’s purpose and obey God’s laws. Ask God to give them guidance and direction for the good of the people they serve. Thank God for our leaders. Ask God to help you be a good follower of authority.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.30.12

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WEDNESDAY— Fight: Use Your Words
Big Point: We are not to use foul or abusive language when we fight for a cause or help the oppressed. Instead, we should use our words to uplift others in a way that draws them to Christ.

When we say “Fight: Use Your Words” we are not encouraging you to get into a shouting match or use abusive language. We want to look at the power of words, specifically the power of learning from our past, and how to have appropriate and godly political and persuasive discussions.

George Santayana is often quoted for his saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” If we hope to improve the state of our lives and our country, the best place to start is history. Not all of us are interested in dates and names, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the experiences, traditions and stories that people have lived through and how these individuals used their words in a manner to bring about peace and justice. We cannot hope to remember lessons from history on our own, we rarely remember what we read or hear anyways! Take this Memorial Day week to talk to veterans, relatives and neighbors about their history and their experience and of what they remember about the words that were used to change history. You may be surprised what you learn!

How We Learn
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what is discussed with others
80% of what is experienced personally
95% of what we teach to someone else.
—William Glasser

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
According to Proverbs 31:8-9, how are we to use our words? What is the result when we use our words in that way?

Proverbs 31:8-9 (New Living Translation)
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. 9Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

Answer:

 

Read the box “How We Learn” by William Glasser. Also, read James 1:22-27. How can we improve what we remember from God’s word? What happens if we don’t do that?

James 1:22-27 (New Living Translation)
22But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in the mirror. 24You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. 26If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Answer:

 

According to Ephesians 4:29, what type of words should come from our mouths? How do these types of words impact others? How is this pleasing to God?

Ephesians 4:29 (New Living Translation)
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever thought about what your role is in politics as a Christian? Tomorrow we will learn that God puts people in government and into positions of authority and we are to respect them and abide by the laws they implement and uphold. So should Christians join politics, or should we keep the church separate from the government? How can Proverbs 31:8-9 help answer that question?

 

 

This past weekend we heard the song Hero by Skillet. Read the lyrics in the box to the right. Repeatedly, the song asks “who’s gonna fight?” Are you willing to fight? What is one way you can use your words to honor God today to stand up for the oppressed?

 

Who’s gonna fight for
what’s right?
Who’s gonna help
us survive?
We’re in the fight of our lives
And we’re not ready to die.
Who’s gonna fight
for the weak?
Who’s gonna make
‘em believe?
I’ve got a hero I’ve got a hero
Livin’ in me
I’m gonna fight for what’s right
Hero, by Skillet

 

Part of sharing traditions and stories is sharing the story of Jesus Christ. Is there someone in your life that you need to share this story with? Write down their name(s) below:

 

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you find the right words when talking to others—to use words of encouragement, words of hope, and words to tell of God’s wonderful message of salvation through Jesus Christ. We remember 70% of what we discuss with others, and 95% of what we teach someone else. Ask God to give you opportunities this week to teach someone about Him so you might also remember.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.29.12

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TUESDAY — Fight: Go to War
Big Point: War is an inevitable part of living in a sinful world and it is sometimes necessary to protect innocent people from harm and to prevent a great evil from occurring. 

You might be asking yourself how anyone can justify war from a Christian perspective. Isn’t one of the Ten Commandments “thou shalt not kill”? What about Jesus being called the “Prince of Peace”? And didn’t Jesus command non-violence when he said to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39)? These are some tough questions. The war against terrorism has caused Christians from all backgrounds and denominations to grapple with the question, “Can war ever be just or right in the eyes of a Holy God”?

On October 7, 2001, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and with an objective of dismantling the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and ending the use of Afghanistan as its base of operations, the War in Afghanistan began. While the War in Afghanistan had the support of most Americans, there were those who opposed it and oppose all war regardless of its justification. Some even consider war a form of murder and apply Exodus 20:13, “you shall not murder,” as a validation of their opposition. Although Exodus does tell us not to murder, the Bible has much more to say about war. As Christians it is important that we understand exactly what the Bible tells us about war.

The Hebrew word for murder literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice”. Many times, as recorded throughout the Old Testament, God instructed the Israelites to go to war with other nations and to destroy them. God also ordered the death penalty for those who committed murder. Therefore, in some circumstances God is not opposed to killing, but He is opposed to murder. War is not something that was only God’s will during Old Testament times. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. Jesus is always in complete agreement with his Father’s will on all things.

Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world and war is an inevitable part of a world filled with sin, hate and evil. Sometimes going to war is necessary to protect innocent people from harm and to prevent an even greater evil from occurring. During times of war, we should pray for wisdom for those that God has placed in authority, pray for the safety of our men and women in uniform, pray for a quick end to the conflict and pray for a minimum of civilian causalities on both sides.

-gotquestions.org

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 24:6 tells us that we will hear of wars and threats of war. What does it tell us we shouldn’t do, and why?

Matthew 24:6 (New Living Translation)
And you will hear of wars and threats of war, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place… 

Answer:

 

What does Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8 tell us about love and hate, war and peace?

Ecclesiastes 3:1,8 (New Living Translation)
1To everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 

Answer:

 

Although Matthew and Ecclesiastes make it clear that God allows war to happen, what does Romans tell us about how to live our daily lives?

Romans 12:18 (New Living Translation)
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Look back at the beginning of today’s study. Maybe you’ve asked yourself the same questions. Maybe you still don’t have the answers you need. What is your opinion regarding war in general? What was your opinion regarding the War in Afghanistan when you first heard about it?

 

Has your opinion changed now that you have a Biblical perspective on war? If so, how?

 

Today’s reading tells us that sometimes war is an inevitable part of a sinful world. Do you have trouble accepting this statement? List three things happening in the world today that support this statement.

1.

2.

3.

 

What questions about war are you still grappling with? Gotquestions.org is a great website with answers to Biblical questions.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God and praise Him for His protection over our country. Ask God to provide safety to our men and women in uniform. If you still have conflicting feelings regarding war, take time to talk to God about that. He wants us to be open with Him and admit when we’re struggling or having doubts. Ask God to provide an understanding of war, even though we may never think that it is necessary.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.28.12

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The following is a true story from Harvy Canard, grandfather of a LIO writer. This is his story:

“I still remember the winter morning in our Arkansas farmhouse when I received my draft notice from the United States Marine Corp. I had just turned 18 and was a senior in high school. Our family was dealing with the effects of the Great Depression and life on the farm, but that would now take second place to the Corp.

In May of 1944, I suddenly found myself in a Marine Corp boot camp in San Diego. Months later, we boarded ship for war in the Pacific. After a month of training in Hawaii, we once again boarded our transports and about a week later we were told our target was to be Iwo Jima.

The day of our invasion, I landed on the beach close to Mt. Suribacki and the firing from that height was terrible. The first night on the line, we were given assigned positions. I had no more than finished my first hole and my sergeant told me to dig another hole. I had just started digging the new hole when it got strangely quiet. The enemy had dropped a rocket in the hole I just vacated, instantly killing the men who had replaced me. It was at this point I whispered to God if He would deliver me out of this mess, I would come to Him.

 

Thank you to all who are currently serving or have served this country in the military. GOD BLESS!

 

I spent many more weeks in the midst of that terrible battle but I never so much as a got a scratch. God had answered me and it was that experience that started me toward a relationship with God. I know now that it was through the grace of God and my mother’s prayers that I was snatched out of the jaws of death not only that first day but many times over. Eventually, the battle ended and I returned to the States and went home.

Like many other men, I had forgotten promises made during those awful days and nights in the foxholes. Finally, some years later, I went to a church meeting. The preacher was talking about how if I died without Christ, I would go to Hell, for the Bible says there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun. I remembered my promise of many years before and on August 17, 1969, I invited Christ into my life.

I couldn’t merit or buy salvation since it comes by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:9). I had been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), that being the Blood of Christ. Revelation 3:20 says that if you will open the door of your heart and invite Him, He’ll come in. You can do it anytime.”

Harvy Canard frequently uses his experiences to share God’s message of saving grace. This week will we look at how to fight for our country. Starting with Monday, Memorial Day, we will look at the tension in our country and explore what the Bible actually says about war. Later in the week, we will dig deeper into how to fight by using our words and by how we live. It is our hope that you are challenged in what you think and in how you live.

 

MONDAY — Oh, the Tension in Our Country
Big Point: The continued threat of further terrorist attacks against America causes tension and fear. God will give us the strength and courage to persevere through struggles or difficulties that we may face.

On September 11, 2001, we all watched in horror and disbelief as the horrendous events of that day were broadcast on TV screens across the nation and across the world. Nineteen terrorists from the Islamic militant group al-Qaeda had hijacked four passenger jets. 2,996 people were killed, including the 19 hijackers. Only 55 of those killed were military personnel, the rest were innocent civilians. America was forever changed after the events of 9/11 and we continue to feel the tension that the threat of further terrorist attacks causes. Hardly a day goes by without some news report of terrorist activities here in the United States and in other nations around the world.

How do we begin to regain the sense of security and safety that we took for granted prior to 9/11? By remembering that life brings many struggles and difficulties and that if God doesn’t keep us from these challenges, He will give us the strength and the courage to get us through them.

As you’re probably aware, today is Memorial Day, a national holiday since Civil War times, 1863. It is a day set aside to remember those that have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and our country. While remembering those lost lives and honoring veterans and active military, don’t forget to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. God so loved us that He sent His only son to die for our sins (John 3:16). More importantly, Jesus is no longer dead. Amidst all the tension in this country, take time this Memorial Day to remember the hope found in eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us that we are to get our strength from the Lord and His power. What will enable us to stand against the devil’s schemes? What do we struggle against? (On Thursday we will look at what the Bible says about authority—who God gives authority to and as Christians, whose authority we’re supposed to submit to.)

Ephesians 6:10-12 (New International Version)
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.

Answer:

 

John 16:33 tells us that we will have peace in Jesus. What are we told that we can expect from our lives here on earth? What should we remember when we are challenged with trials and sorrows?

John 16:33 (New Living Translation)
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Answer:

 

Read Romans 8:18, 20, 22. What are we to compare our present sufferings with? What is creation subjected to? What is our “groaning” compared to?

Romans 8:18, 20, 22 (New International Version)
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worthy comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…20For the creation was subjected to frustration…22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001, when you heard the news of the terrorist attacks? What was your initial reaction? John 16:33 tells us we can find peace in Jesus. How can this relieve any fears that war or terrorist attacks may give you?

 

There is a lot of tension about what the world portrays and desires and what we as Christians should desire. In Romans 8, we are told that creation is subjected to frustration. What, in today’s world, causes you as a Christian the most frustration? How does Romans tell us to view that in light of the glory that Christ revealed to us?

 

There are many challenges to being a Christian in today’s world. Our country is in an increasing state of fear, from global threats of war to financial problems and rising unemployment. What can we do in light of Ephesians 6:10-12 to overcome those challenges?

 

Tomorrow we will look more closely at what the Bible says regarding war.

 

Pray … God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God that our nation withstood the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Ask God to help you find comfort in His Word and the peace that Jesus can give us. Ask God to give you strength and courage when faced with tension from world events.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.25.12

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FRIDAY — Chart Your Course to Vulnerability
Big Point: Allowing yourself to be vulnerable takes intentionality and focus.

How far along are you at the end of this week after reviewing all that we learned about being vulnerable? You can see why Patrick Lencioni’s title Get Naked is so appropriate. But we just don’t want you to understand this on an intellectual level, we want you to truly embrace all the elements of vulnerability. Lencioni states that “ most of us will still struggle with vulnerability because we are human beings who don’t like to be weak, which means we are subject to the completely natural but irrational fears that make us uncomfortable being naked.” Basically, we have to overcome our fears, which as you likely discovered this week, is not easy. We learned that vulnerability requires levels of self-sacrifice and discomfort—and, at times, real suffering—that few people are willing to endure.

We hope the questions this week challenged you to step outside of your comfort zone a bit. We’d like to end this week with some final questions and chart a course for you to experience the power of living vulnerably.

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Where on the continuum below would you place your own willingness to be vulnerable?

  • Rarely willing to be vulnerable
  • Cautiously willing to be vulnerable
  • Totally willing to be vulnerable

Rate how much you struggle with each fear in the scale below:

  • I don’t struggle much with this
  • I sometimes struggle with this
  • I really struggle with this
  1. Fear of being Rejected
  2. Fear of being embarassed
  3. Fear of feeling inferior

 

What key takeaways did you notice this week about the fear of being rejected?

 

What key takeaways did you notice this week about the fear of being embarrassed?

 

What key takeaways did you notice this week about the fear of feeling inferior?

 

Is there anyone you need to recruit to help you remain accountable in taking steps to remain vulnerable? Write out the things you need to tell them to help you remain successful as you journey toward vulnerability.

 

We pray that this topic will help you to risk vulnerability and invite someone to our next teaching series entitled “Fight.” The weekly topics are as follows:

  • Fight for Your Country
  • Fight for Your Faith
  • Fight for Your Marriage
  • Fight Your Fear
  • Fight for Your Soul

Who will you invite to this next series?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God for you to understand the power of vulnerability and to continue to fight any fears you may have of being rejected, being embarrassed or feeling inferior.

Weekend Updates!

  • The Leadership Summit Is Coming to the CedarCreek again. Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit will be held at CedarCreek Church on August 9th and 10th. The early bird special is only $75.00 and you can sign up online at cedarcreek.tv. By signing up early, you can get a free copy of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage.
  • Do you like stories of triumph and victory? Join the “All-Campus” Life Support Graduation Celebration on Tuesday, May 29 at the South Toledo Campus at 6pm. We will celebrate the individuals who are taking the next steps in their spiritual growth. Then on June 4 at 7pm, the Life Support summer 13-week program will begin at the South Toledo and Perrysburg Campuses only. Life Support is a 13-week Christ-Centered “Freedom Principle” support group program that helps individuals who struggle with hurts, habits or hang-ups. To learn more about Life Support and what groups are offered, go to CedarCreek.tv under the “Get Connected” tab.
  • 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. Go to cedarcreek.tv/internship for more details and to fill out an application. Email Wade at WadeS@cedarcreek.tv for all correspondence.

 

 

 

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:
Get Naked
Patrick Lencioni 

 

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

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.24.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
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THURSDAY– Feel Inferior
Big Point: Feeling inferior enables us to put others and their needs before ourselves. We can look to Jesus for a perfect example of deliberately being inferior in his relationship with us.

Feel Inferior? The very word inferior causes us to feel uncomfortable and fearful. We have been taught from childhood that we are not inferior and should never feel that way. The last thing we want to do is to deliberately put ourselves in a lower position and risk having others look down on us. But a refusal to feel inferior prevents us from being vulnerable in our relationship with others and from living a life of service to God and others.

In the weekend message Patrick Lencioni stated that “There is just something about a person who’s willing to put themselves in a lower position.” Taking a lower position empowers us to better serve the needs of others. If you are unsure of how to feel inferior, Jesus gives us a perfect example of living an inferior life.

Jesus chose to leave Heaven and take the form of a human; the creator became the created. He chose to be born in a stall and placed in a manger; a trough used to feed animals. He never took credit for the miracles he performed but always glorified his Father. He didn’t tend to his own needs but taught, fed and healed the multitude of people who came to him. He washed the feet of his disciples; a task performed by servants. He allowed himself to be rejected, mocked, scorned and spat at without saying a word of defense. He was beaten, whipped and crucified with criminals, taking on our punishment. His blood was spilled and he gave his life so that through his death and resurrection we could have eternal life. Jesus deliberately lowered himself to an inferior position so that we could be reconciled with God.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
Jesus lived a humble and inferior life in all that he did. Read Luke 14:7-8. What advice does Jesus give about honoring yourself?

Luke 14:7-8 (New Living Translation)
7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?

Answer:

 

Read Matthew 16:24. What are the requirements to become a follower of Jesus?

Matthew 16:24 (New Living Translation)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

Answer:

 

What does Matthew 20:16 say about those who always seem to find themselves in “last place?”

Matthew 20:16 (New Living Translation)
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Jesus’ life is a perfect example of living an inferior life and gives us a blueprint of the type of behavior we should strive to emulate. Do you deliberately feel inferior in your relationships or service to others? Are there areas in your life where you need to feel inferior? Write down four areas where you could take a lower, inferior position to better serve God and others.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

 

In the weekend message Patrick Lencioni identified feeling inferior as a fear of being vulnerable or being looked down on by others. He also identified feeling inferior as a necessity for improving our relationships and service to others. Do you fear feeling inferior? Write down four fears that you have about feeling inferior. Identify and write down four ways that your relationships and service to others could be improved by feeling inferior.

 

Fears:

1.

2.

3.

4.

 

Improvements:

1.

2.

3.

4.

 

 

Do you lead an organization, team, a group, or are you a coach, parent or mentor? If so, you likely are asking people to do things to challenge themselves and to do a lot of “dirty work.” How often do you lead by example by showing that you are just as willing to do the things you are asking them to do?

 

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God for allowing Jesus to live an inferior life so that through him we have eternal life. Ask God to reveal your fears of feeling inferior and to help you overcome these fears. Ask Him to help you feel inferior and to take a lower position when serving others and in your relationships.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.23.12

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WEDNESDAY– Be Embarrassed
Big Point: Celebrate your mistakes—it’s okay to ask dumb questions or to make suggestions that may be seemingly unwise. 

Do you remember being in school and having that fear of asking a question that you thought was sort of dumb because you did not want to be embarrassed? If you had a kind teacher, he or she likely said “it’s okay, no question is a dumb question because someone else may have that same question.” Sadly, perhaps some of you had that not so nice teacher that said “What kind of question is that. Are you kidding me? What planet are you from to ask such a stupid question?” Well, if you had that not so nice teacher, we apologize but, it’s time to get over that fear of asking that “not so wise” question. Here’s why.

 

“Lencioni’s friend, who’s a consultant, was in a meeting and a woman passed gas, but the worst part was that she pretended it didn’t happen.”
Patrick Lencioni,
Get Naked

 

Patrick Lencioni says that our job as leaders, parents, mentors, teachers and disciples of Christ is to be okay with sometimes saying “I don’t understand that” because other people may feel the exact same way. We have to realize that our job is not to always “look smart.” Rather, our job is to help people do better. Lencioni states that “When people realize that you’re editing yourself to manage your own image, they don’t trust you. You don’t inspire them and you don’t build trust among them.”

When we are okay with being embarrassed, we are more likely to celebrate our mistakes. Lencioni says that “People say ‘don’t admit your mistakes’ or ‘don’t let them see you sweat’ but people see us sweating before we even know we’re sweating.”

The bottom line is get real—be human. It’s attractive to people and they will want to be around you more often.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
According to 2 Corinthians 12:9, how does Christ’s power work best in us?

2 Corinthians 12:9 (New Living Translation)
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Answer:

 

It’s sometimes challenging to risk being embarrassed. But what does Proverbs 3:6 tell us to do to get past this fear?

Proverbs 3:6 (New Living Translation)
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Answer:

 

According to Proverbs 11:2, what will happen to us if we hold on to pride? What gives us wisdom?

Proverbs 11:2 (New Living Translation)
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever asked a dumb question that turned out to be a very wise one? Describe what the question was and what your experience was like.

 

Think of a mistake you’ve made that you’ve never told anyone about. What might be the result if you shared that story. Write your thoughts below. Then, if you feel ready, share your story with someone today.

 

Do you often feel embarrassed about things? Are you seeing a certain trend? If so, describe why that is.

 

 

How easy is it for you to boast about your weaknesses?

 

 

If you feel embarrassed often and are unable to boast about your weaknesses, perhaps you can ask for God’s help by praying using Psalm 139:23 “search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you let go of the fear of being embarrassed. Ask Him to help you find opportunities to brag about your weaknesses. If you are unsure of why you are unable to brag about your weaknesses, ask Him to know your heart and to test you so that you can be aware of any anxious thoughts you may have.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.22.12

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TUESDAY — Enter the Danger Zone—Tell the Truth
Big Point: Tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth and do it kindly, so help you God!

Telling the truth is so challenging for so many people. It’s not that we desire to be untruthful all the time. It’s likely that we don’t want to offend someone or “step on their toes” because at times, the truth hurts.

If you’ve watched enough old law shows or movies, you likely remember the court bailiff pulling out the infamous Bible and asking witnesses to raise their right hand and to swear on the Bible. The bailiff would ask, “Do you swear to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God.” Well, it’s no secret, we all need God’s help to tell the truth—even when it hurts.

Patrick Lencioni shared in his Get Naked book that one of the reasons people are unable to be vulnerable is because they fear being rejected. He states that “rejection is something that we are called to and we have to exercise our willingness to be rejected, and that is the way we’re going to draw people to us, whether they are clients, congregation members, people we are going to lead or friends.”

Lencioni shared that we have to risk “entering the danger” zone by putting our guard down and entering into situations that are extremely uncomfortable. When we are willing to do this, Lencioni says that we can get out of the “terminal niceness” rut that typically happens in churches. This terminal issue causes us not to tell the kind truth which ultimately leaves people feeling frustrated and builds distrust in people who call themselves Christians. Lencioni shared that “Clients, leaders and people in our churches are desperate for someone who will tell the kind truth.”

The question we will explore today is “How willing are you to enter the danger zone and tell the kind truth to someone?” Let’s read what the Bible has to say about telling the kind truth.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
Ephesians 4:14 asks us to grow up and do what? When we become mature, what does verse 15 challenge us to do in a loving way? In return, who do we become more like? Verse 16 implies that when we tell the truth, the whole body fits together perfectly and does what?

Ephesians 4:14-16 (New Living Translation)
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Answer:

 

According to John 8:32, what happens to us when we tell the truth?

John 8:32 (New Living Translation)
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Answer:

 

What does Matthew 5:37 challenge us to do when we are confronted with telling the truth? If we don’t do this, who are we acting like?

Matthew 5:37 (New International Version)
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Answer:

 

According to Hebrews 12:14, what are we required to do to live in peace with everyone?

Hebrews 12:14 (New Living Translation)
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Do you think you are the type of person who fears being rejected? Or are you the exact opposite? Explain which type of person you are.

 

Lencioni suggested two strategies for overcoming our fear of rejection, and that is to “enter the danger” zone and “speak the kind truth.” Think of a recent situation in which you resisted being vulnerable. Replay the scenario in your mind, but this time, imagine that you were willing to enter the danger.

 

What could you have said? (Remember: We are to speak the kind and loving truth)

 

What do you think might have been the result had you spoken up?

 

Describe a time where you felt the freedom that came from standing up and speaking the kind truth.

 

Perhaps there is someone you know of today that you need to speak the kind truth to. List their name(s) and ask God to give you guidance as to when you should approach them with the kind truth.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you enter the danger zone and to become more like Christ and to speak the truth in love—no matter the cost.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.21.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
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Trust. It is a hard thing to come by. On average, people typically seem to distrust certain professions like politicians and institutions like government. Some will say you just never know who is telling the truth or whether a person or institution is simply faking or posturing just to get a vote.

Recently, social media giant Facebook has come under sharp scrutiny with its recent decision to go public. Among the issues discussed were user confidence and trust. The Associated Press and CNBC recently conducted a poll and found that 59 percent of respondents said that they had little to no trust in Facebook to keep their information private. Facebook users questioned whether their private information was being used to attract advertisers to Facebook. Respondents to the survey also doubted Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to run a large publically traded organization. It seems Facebook users are beginning to question the company’s motives and honesty.

Be Vulnerable
“There is no better way to earn a person’s trust than by putting ourselves in a position of unprotected weakness.”
Patrick Lencioni,
Get Naked

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit speaker and author of the book Get Naked, Patrick Lencioni, knows all too well what it’s like to fake honesty. In Lencioni’s previous jobs he was taught how not to answer questions honestly. He was told to lie about his age and to never find himself in a vulnerable position. If a client asked him something, he was told to make up quick answers, even if he did not have an answer. Humility was never to be used and he had to always appear much smarter than his clients. What Lencioni discovered was that in the long run, following that path built a significant divide between him and his clients.

George Burns once said, “If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.” Lencioni found that to be the farthest from the truth. Faking sincerity is the exact opposite of vulnerability, which Lencioni claims is the key to success. Lencioni says, “Without the willingness to be vulnerable, we will not build deep and lasting relationships in life. That’s because there is no better way to earn a person’s trust than by putting ourselves in a position of unprotected weakness and demonstrating that we believe they will support us.”

Society teaches us to avoid vulnerability and to always project strength, confidence and poise. Lencioni teaches that vulnerability is the key to success in business and in life and that you can never be too vulnerable.

This week, we’ll review Lencioni’s “Power of Vulnerability” stance in his Get Naked book and how it closely relates to how Christ has called us to live. There are certain attributes that we must be willing to adhere to. We must be willing to suffer, be rejected, embarrassed and feel inferior. Sound exciting? It’s likely that these attributes account for some of our greatest fears. Yet vulnerability is the very thing Christ did to earn our trust. It’s time to get naked and be vulnerable!

MONDAY — Lose it All—Be Vulnerable!
Big Point: There are massive rewards for being vulnerable in life but that often carries a possibility of suffering and pain.

Finding power in vulnerability is something most of us look at and say “that’s an oxymoron.” Some of us grew up in a situation where we could not afford to be vulnerable. The power came from protecting and shielding the most vulnerable parts of our lives and bodies. Although this protection seems natural to us; Jesus teaches us the power of vulnerability through his grace, forgiveness and sacrifice. There is something just so attractive and powerful about this and vulnerability was a key element of Christ as a man. Now more than ever our biggest obstacle we face as Christians is to come to God in humility and to drop our guard this world has conditioned us to have. Accepting vulnerability solves this problem and with that solved, we gain life—a massive reward!

The other side of vulnerability is being open to the possibility of suffering and rejection. Most of us shy away from telling the kind truth to friends and family in situations we know are wrong in the hopes of keeping the peace. No matter how hard we try to keep the peace we almost always fail miserably. Keeping what we believe and how we treat our relationships consistent is very important to the work God wants to do through our lives. Suffering and rejection by people should not be our main focus. Instead we should focus on our acceptance of God. Losing it all shouldn’t be so scary if we trust God to guide and provide in our lives. The massive reward is there—protected by the hand of God. Letting go of whatever we are trying so desperately to hold onto and allowing God to fill our hands is the true power in vulnerability.

 

“But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
C.S. Lewis

 

Read and Think…Find Answers in the Bible
Paul made it clear who he serves in Galatians 1:10. Are you clear about this? What does Paul say “pleasing people” makes us?

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

Answer:

 

How could losing it all be a good thing according to Matthew 16:25?

Matthew 16:25 (New Living Translation)
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

Answer:

 

According to the following verse, how does vulnerability bring peace into your life?

Ecclesiastes 4:6 (New Living Translation)
“Better to have one handful with quietness
than two handfuls with hard work
and chasing the wind.”

Answer:

 

Live…What will you do now?
Most of us find the topic of gaining power though self vulnerability to be a bit hard to swallow. Not that we don’t believe it’s effective or the correct way of doing things, but the question is how do we go about it? How do we accept the possibility of losing our relationships, self-esteem, and even our livelihood? Can we prepare for it? Write out your thoughts.

 

It’s our job as Christians to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Do you see the vulnerability and reward in both situations? What could the reward be in your life? What possible suffering could come from this?

 

Can God give you His gift and the plan to use it if you are too busy holding onto what you think keeps you safe? What can you do today to “free up a hand” and hold it up to God in faith and ask for His help?

 

Why do you think people are attracted to humble and vulnerable people? How is it an effective way to lead your coworkers and families?

 

Why does faith in spite of trial glorify God? How can spotlighting your vulnerability bring even more glory to God?

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Begin by thanking God for His presence in your life and the forgiveness He created for us through his son Jesus Christ. Ask God for the strength and courage to give Him your life so that you can accept the life that truly matters; which is eternal life. Ask God to guide your day and the ability to trust His guidance.