Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.13.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.13.12.

FRIDAY — Pursue Christ-like Virtue

* The Response Questions for Loving Jesus are on pages 12 and 13. You will need to answer these questions before completing the Commitment portion of the Missional Membership Process.

        Christ followers are committed to being conformed to the image of Christ and developing Godly characteristics in their thoughts, actions, words, and relationships. They are under the control of the Holy Spirit and subject themselves to the Spirit‘s promptings, being quick to flee from temptation or anything that is dishonoring to God. As Christ followers seek to be Christ-like in all their behavior, they will respond in a positive way when confronted by others regarding areas of their lives that do not demonstrate Godly character. They will seek help and support from their Life- Group members or other trusted Christians to be accountable in areas of concern.

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible

1. The Battleground
Living in our present culture is a challenge. Temptations to fall back into our old way of life are everywhere, and we are constantly bombarded with enticements that are contrary to Godly living. The Bible describes a battle between two natures raging within us: our old nature before coming to Christ, referred to as the flesh, and our new nature now that we are in Christ, referred to as the Spirit. In the spaces provided below the verses, list the deeds, or “fruits”, of the flesh and Spirit according to Galatians 5:16-26.

Fruits of the Flesh: (Underline the ones that are your biggest struggles)

 

 

Fruits of the Spirit: (Circle the ones that you already practice)

 

 

Galatians 5:16-26 (New Living Translation)
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The 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. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, 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. 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! 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.

2. Pursuing Christ-Like Character
In truth, you are pure and holy in God’s eyes through Christ (Isaiah 1:18). However, God wants you to live up and live out these standards in your everyday life here on earth. What should you practice and avoid?
Ephesians 4:25-32 (New Living Translation)
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 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. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Practice:

Avoid:

3. Christ desires his followers to love. Which characteristic is hard to practice?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (New Living Translation)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Answer:

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you continue to make “love” a verb by taking action and pursuing a mission-minded life through Membership or disciplining someone to do the same.

Weekend Updates!
• Financial Peace University: Exciting News—Financial Peace University (“FPU”) is having a sale—you now only need to pay $80! That represents a $30 savings. The 13-week classes begin on Monday, January 23rd at the Whitehouse and West Toledo campus and Wednesday beginning January 25th at the Perrysburg and South Toledo Campus at 7pm. Childcare is available for a nominal fee. Register online at cedarcreek.tv under the Get Connected tab or at any Welcome Center. Registration cut-off is Friday, January 13th at 12pm.
• Provide and Protect: Once you get your budget organized, then what? What happens if your health fails, you pass away or you are otherwise unable to provide for your family? The Perrysburg Campus will host a seminar entitled “Provide and Protect,” Sunday, Jan 22 from 10:45am-12:15pm to give you the tools necessary to set your family up for success. A financial advisor and attorney will be present to answer your questions. Your only cost is the Provide and Protect book that you can pick up at The Source bookstore before the seminar begins. Register now at CedarCreek.tv under the “Get Connected” tab.

 Personal Response Loving Jesus: God’s Grace

RESPOND: Take the time to answer these questions in response to what you’ve learned about God’s grace by receiving the gift of eternal life.

 

1. How does someone become a Christian in the true sense of the word? Describe how that happened for you.

 

 

2. Have you been baptized as a believer? Describe the total experience. When and where did your baptism take place?

 

 

3. Who is ultimately responsible for your spiritual growth? _________________

 

 

4. What are you currently doing to grow in your relationship with Christ? Practically speaking, what else could you do to further your intimacy with God?

 

 

5. Practically speaking, what else could you do to further your intimacy with God? Prayer, worship, and Bible study are vital elements in deepening one’s walk with Christ. Describe how you are nurturing your spiritual growth through those spiritual disciplines.

 

Personal Response Loving Jesus: Biblical Worldview, Developing intimacy and Godly Character

1. Do you regard the Bible as God‘s final authority in all areas of the Christian life, and do you desire to be wholly obedient to it? Please explain any reservations you have.

 

 

2. Knowing that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere at one time, how should this affect the way you live?

 

 

3. Rate how comfortable are you in explaining the major doctrines of the bible to someone who does not know God. 1 (little) to 5 (excellent). __ Bible ___ God ____ Jesus Christ ____ The Holy Spirit ___ The Church __ Humanity (the condition of man, sin) ____ Salvation and Redemption

 

 

4. In which doctrinal issues do you feel you need additional training?

 

 

5. In your pursuit of becoming more Christ-like, what areas are most difficult for you and most frequently need more attention? (See 1 Corinthians 13). Write out a personal plan to help you improve in the area that concerns you most.

 

 

6. Will you seek to model Godly character in all aspects of your life? 7. Are there any ongoing patterns of sin in your life that you are not willing to turn from and/or are not yielding to Christ: i.e. sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, addictions (such as to drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, food, video games etc.) lying, stealing, gossiping, coarse language, prejudice and so on?

 

What We Believe

The following pages contain our Statement of Faith which summarizes our beliefs as a church. Do not try to hurry through these pages, but read them slowly and thoughtfully. Ask yourself throughout, “What difference does this truth make in my life? If I didn’t know or believe this, would it matter?”

The Bible
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God and that it was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. Scripture at one and the same time speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God. 2 Timothy 3:16

God
We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity, and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning, God created the world out of nothing and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom, and goodness. By His providence, He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes. Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:34-35

Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal second person of the Trinity. We believe in his deity and in His miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. John 1:1-5

The Holy Spirit
As believers submit to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, they are enabled to live a life of holiness and obedience. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Christ. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need of a Savior and regenerates them. At the point of salvation, he permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, comfort, strength and wisdom. He uniquely endows each believer with spiritual gifts for the building up of the church. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scriptures. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father. John 16:5-15.

Salvation
The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with Him. Originally created to have fellowship with God, man defied God, choosing to go his independent way, and so was alienated from God and suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals since have suffered these consequences and are in need of the saving grace of God. The Salvation of mankind is, then, wholly a work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness, and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith. Salvation is available to all, but it must be received to become a child of God (John 1:12). When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation. John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Philippians 1:6

Human Destiny
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God’s judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution for their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life. Romans 6:23

The Church
The result of being united with Jesus Christ is that all believers become positional members of his body, the Church. There is one true universal Church, comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scriptures command believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, and the teaching of the Word of God. The Scriptures command believers to devote themselves to the observance of Baptism and Communion as the sacramental ordinances established by Jesus Christ. We believe that Baptism by immersion, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is commanded by God; that it is subsequent to conversion, that it is not a saving ordinance, but an obedient outward expression of an inward work of the Spirit of God (Matthew 3:13-17).
We believe that Communion is a symbol of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, and a looking forward to the second coming of Christ to receive His own (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). The Scriptures also command believers to devote themselves to fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Every member of Christ’s body should share their Christian witness with others. Acts 2:42

Faith and Practice
Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.

We believe the Statement of Faith to be an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches. All members shall refrain from advocating doctrines that are not included in the Statement of Faith in such a way as to cause dissension.

 

Living It Out: January 2012
6And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 (New Living Translation)


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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these resources are also available electronically at 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:
CedarCreek’s Missional Membership Manual

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

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.12.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.12.12.

THURSDAY — Develop Intimacy With God
Big Point: Growing in deeper intimacy with God allows you to honestly confront areas of personal sin and engage the Holy Spirit’s power to turn from it.

* The Response Questions for Loving Jesus are on pages 12 and 13. You will need to answer these questions before completing the Commitment portion of the Missional Membership Process.

         It is important to discover the balance between owning the responsibility to grow, which requires resisting what keeps us from growing, and trusting in the help and power of the Holy Spirit to bring about Christ-like character in us. That is the tension that will be with us all of our lives. But if we‘ll commit to move forward, we will experience the blessings of God’s grace active in our everyday lives—and marvel at the resultant miracle of our spiritual growth.
        Christ-followers know the grace of God that saved them is only the beginning of His work in them. They gratefully respond by actively pursuing a lifelong process of spiritual growth in Christ and seek to become conformed to His image. To this end, they consistently nurture their spiritual development through prayer, worship, and Bible study.

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible
1. In Ephesians 4:14-15, Paul describes two contrasting scenarios: traits that should no longer characterize believers, and then traits that should be evident in a Christian. List as many of those dissimilarities as you can find:
Ephesians 4:14-15 (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.

Traits that should no longer characterize believers:

 

 

Healthy traits a Christian should possess:

 

 

  2. Tools for Developing Intimacy with God: The Bible
What do the following verses teach about the importance of Scripture in the life of a growing Christian? (See also 1 Peter 2:2-3, Psalm 1:2-3 and Psalm 119:9-24)
Hebrews 4:12 (New Living Translation)
For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.

Answer:

 

2. The Purpose of Spiritual Disciplines:
Spiritual disciplines are not ends in themselves. How would you describe in your own words the result of a spiritually disciplined life according to 1 Timothy 4:7-8?
1 Timothy 4:7-8 (New Living Translation)
7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Answer:

 

3. Read Romans 6:1-11. As long as we‘re forgiven, why does it make any difference whether we sin or not?
Romans 6:1-11 (New Living Translation)
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Answer:

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you develop a lifelong practice of spiritual growth through prayer, worship and Bible study. Ask Him to help you confront areas of personal sin and to engage the Holy Spirit’s power to turn from it.

 

Find the Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Acts 7-9 at www.livingitout.tv

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.11.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.11.12.

WEDNESDAY — Construct a Biblical Worldview
Big Point: Build a firm foundation on Jesus by clearly understanding who God is and the role the Bible plays in your life.

* The Response Questions for Loving Jesus are on pages 12 and 13. You will need to answer these questions before completing the Commitment portion of the Missional Membership Process.

        The first step in building a home is to dig a footer to lay the foundation. Digging the footer isn‘t glamorous and few people are interested in watching a footer being poured – even fewer people want to actually participate in digging the footer. However, a solid footer is vital to the health and long-term stability of the home. If the footer is inadequate, the stability of the home will be compromised. If the footer is strong and properly installed, the home will fare well for generations to come.
        Today, we are going to look at the “foundation” that God wants to put into your life. The foundation of our faith is based on what we believe. Ultimately, we need to understand that right beliefs will lead to right behaviors.
        Loving God with all of your mind seems to be academic, as if love and intellect contradict each other. However, the reality is that people who struggle with one particular sin or another tend to have a misshaped belief. A flawed belief is like a weak spot in a footer because it makes the rest of the house unstable and vulnerable to damage.
        As we engage in the process of establishing a correct foundation or what we refer to as a “biblical worldview,” the goal is for us to make sure that we have a correct understanding of who God is and the role that the Bible plays in our lives.

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible
1. The Doctrine of the Bible, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
The Bible is self-attesting. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Where did scripture originate?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New Living Translation)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Answer:

 

Christ followers accept all 66 books of the Bible as the actual and literal word of God as given by Him through the prophets. They rely on its accuracy and seek to abide by all that is written in it. The Bible will always overrule human reasoning and will be the standard by which all other teachings or so-called truth are measured. Devoted followers of Christ also study the Bible and become grounded in all aspects of the Christian faith to recognize and refute false doctrines.

2. GOD IS OMNIPRESENT, OMNISCIENT, OMNIPOTENT
What do these Biblical authors say about God’s omnipresence?
Psalm 139:7-10 (New Living Translation)
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

Hebrews 4:13 (New Living Translation)
Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must expose all that we have done.

Answer:

 

3. THE DEITY OF CHRIST
Jesus was fully divine. The term “incarnate” refers to the fact that Jesus was God in human flesh. What does this verse tell you about the Deity of Christ?
Colossians 2:9 (New Living Translation)
For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body…

Answer:

 

According to this verse, why did the Jews want to kill Jesus?
John 10:33 (New Living Translation)
They replied, “Not for any good work, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, have made yourself God.” (Also see John 5:18)

Answer:

 

4. THE HOLY SPIRIT
What specific role does the Holy Spirit play according to these verses? (see also John 14:16-18, 26; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 1 Corinthians 12:5-11, Acts 1:8, Romans 8:26)
John 16:13-14 (New Living Translation)
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.

1 Corinthians 12:4 (New Living Translation)
Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.

Answer:

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray that as God becomes clearer to you, your foundation in Him becomes more grounded and your mission becomes clearer.

Find the Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Acts 4-6 at www.livingitout.tv

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.10.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.10.12.

TUESDAY — God’s Grace and Baptism
Big Point: We have the opportunity to share our outward expression of God’s grace through Baptism.

* The Response Questions for Loving Jesus are on pages 12 and 13. You will need to answer these questions before completing the Commitment portion of the Missional Membership Process.

        While we respect the religious heritage of those who have been baptized as infants, we believe Scripture teaches that baptism should come after a person has personally received Christ.
        We therefore require that a person be baptized by his or her own choice be-fore becoming a missional member at CedarCreek (although that baptism does not need to have occurred at CedarCreek).
        If you have not yet been baptized since you became a Christian, we ask that you do so at one of our baptism services so that we can celebrate your commitment to Christ with the rest of the church members.

READ and THINK…Find Answers about God’s Grace:
1. Once we’re at that position where we’ve been honest about our need for God‘s help and forgiveness, what does the Bible say is the next step? (See also John 1:11-12, Acts 16:30-31 and Galatians 2:16)
Romans 10:9 (New Living Translation)
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Answer:

 

2. I John 5:11-13 speaks of only two types of people: those who accept Christ and have eternal life, and those who don‘t. What does verse 13 say about your eternal security?
1 John 5:11-13 (New Living Translation)
11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

Answer:

 

READ and THINK…Find Answers about Baptism:
3. According To Romans 6:4-5, what is signified by baptism?
Romans 6:4-5 (New Living Translation)
4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.

Answer:

 

**Much misunderstanding ex-ists about what it means to be a “Christian.” Church at-tendance, belief in God, strong commitment, etc. are all good but none of them make you a Christian in the Biblical sense. If you’re at all unclear as to whether or not you’re a Christian, we’d like to clear up any confusion you have. Please don’t feel embar-rassed if you’re not sure. Feel free to get in touch with our spiritual formation depart-ment by contacting Diana at dianap@cedarcreek.tv**

4. According to the following verses, what was the response of new believers, those who had recently received God’s grace, which visibly demonstrated what God had done in their lives? (See also Acts 8:36-38 and Acts 16:14-15)
Acts 2:37-38, 41 37
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter re-plied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

Acts 10:47-48 (New Living Translation)
47 “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.

Answer:

 

Many people, maybe you, too, were baptized as a child. But the pattern in the New Testament (example: Acts 18:8) is ―believe “then be bap-tized.” Why do you think it would be appropriate for a person to be baptized AFTER his or her con-version instead of before it?

 

About Baptisms here at the ‘Creek: Baptisms will be held at New Community on Sunday, January 29th at 6pm at the South Toledo Campus. Attend one of the following Baptism classes: Saturday, Jan 14 and 21 at 5:15pm, and Sunday, Jan 15 at 10:45am, and Sunday, Jan 29 at 4pm at the South To-ledo Campus ONLY. Then at ALL campuses on Sunday, Jan 22 at 10:45am.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you pursue baptism, if you have not done so already. If you have been baptized, ask Him to help you always remember the experience. Ask Him to help you continuously pursue Him and experience his grace.

Looking for the Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Acts 1-3?
As of January 2012, we are no longer providing commentary in our printed Liv-ingItOut copy. Instead, we invite you to go online and sign-up for the electronic version at www.livingitout.tv. There you can click on the Daily Bible Reading commentary link that will allow you to go deeper into your Daily Bible Reading.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.09.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.09.12.

 

THE GAP SERIES
“LOVE FOR GOD”

 

Love is a verb—
that means it’s never too late. If you don’t feel the love anymore choose to act the love.

– Stephen Covey

 

      Have you ever found yourself saying “my spouse and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to; I guess we don’t love each other any more.” Steven Covey counseled a man who said the exact same thing and Covey’s simple response to him was to “Love her.” The gentleman responded by saying, “No, you don’t understand, the feeling of love isn’t there any more.” Again, Covey responded, “Love her; my friend, love is a verb. Love, the feeling, is a fruit of love; the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Af-firm her. Are you willing to do that?”
What about your relationship with Christ? Take a moment to ask yourself that question. Are you willing to do that? Do you ever feel as though you move the heart of Christ with your love? Are you wondering what that would even look like? Consider the woman who poured very expensive oils from her alabaster box over Jesus’ head as referenced in Matthew 26:6-13. The disciples were so mad at this woman based on the type of woman she was. They claimed she “wasted” these very expensive oils that could have been sold at a higher price. Jesus silenced their accusations by honoring this adoring worshiper. Jesus knew this woman would never write a book or speak at a conference or do anything of worldly significance, but despite her obscurity, no one would ever forget how she moved the heart of Christ with her love.
The basic element that moved this woman to act out her love was that she was grateful to Christ. Perhaps she understood that she was filled with sin, she understood why she sinned and she new that Christ could take away her sins. This makes you wonder, why do we even sin in the first place? We sin because we enjoy the pleasure it brings. John Piper says, “Sin is what we do when our hearts are not satisfied with God.” But, when we remain in a state of gratitude, we can make God our constant pursuit and remain satisfied with Him. As we study God’s word and build our lives around Him our hearts will fill with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 says our faith will grow strong in the truth we were taught, and we will overflow with thankfulness. That Gratitude will give rise to Obedience to the Christian life and in return, we will become a Disciple of Christ. Did you catch the acrostic—that’s God!
Make “love” a verb by taking action to live with a more mission-minded focus. Love Jesus with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This Living it Out study contains portions of the Missional Membership on loving God. Not only will your life be richly blessed by this study, you will complete the Highest Level of Commitment here at CedarCreek Church. If you’ve already made that commitment, take the time to review this study again, disciple someone else and share what it’s like to live mission focused.

Gratitude
Obedience
Discipleship

MONDAY — God’s Grace!
Big Point: Loving Jesus means we get to receive the gift of eternal life—no if’s, and’s or but’s about it!

* The Response Questions for Loving Jesus are on pages 12 and 13. You will need to answer these questions before completing the Commit-ment portion of the Missional Membership Process.

        Loving Jesus begins when we transfer our affections from wherever they are now and divert them toward Christ. You might not have thought about this before, but long before you can change your beliefs, your attitudes or your actions, you must first transfer your affections…otherwise, the transformational work God de-sires to do in your life will stall—not because God isn’t powerful enough, but be-cause your affections (desires) are still focused on people or things instead of God.
In this first section of Loving Jesus, we will explore God’s Grace. Grace may be a somewhat unfamiliar term to you, or like so many, you hear it sprinkled in spir-itual conversations but aren’t exactly sure how to define it (you may have even used the word without really knowing what you were saying – it happens!). You also may have come from a spiritual tradition where the term had a usage different from what is found in the Bible. So we all need to understand the Biblical meaning of grace and then solidify our understanding of our own beginning with God. For some of us, this very study will be the doorway into that first experience of grace that enables us to say, “I finally understand what grace is, and I’m sure I’m a recipient of it.”

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible

1. Some people assume that they are not that much worse than anyone else, so they don’t need any special help from God. How would you put in your own words the message of the following verses to those who think themselves mor-ally ―acceptable? (See also Isaiah 59:2 and 64:6 and Galatians 3:22)
Romans 3:10-18, 23 (New Living Translation)
10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” 13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15“They rush to commit murder. 16 Destruction and misery always follow them. 17 They don’t know where to find peace.” 18 “They have no fear of God at all.” 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Answer:

2. What do we deserve because of our sin? What does God offer and how?
Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Answer:

3. According to Romans 5:8, how and when did God show His love for us?
Romans 5:8 (New Living Translation)
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Answer:

4.  After reading carefully Ephesians 2:8-9, write a letter to yourself explaining why you can’t, and don’t have to, earn God”s acceptance. (See also Titus 3:4-7)

Ephesians 2:8-9 (New Living Translation)
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.

Dear ____________________________,

5. In the spiritual realm, God’s forgiveness means we’re released from spiritual debt. But our sins don’t just vanish into thin air. According to this verse, how is our debt forgiven in a spiritual sense? (See also Hebrews 10:10-14)

1 Peter 2:24 (New Living Translation)
He personally carried away our sins in his body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

Answer:

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you clearly understand and accept God’s grace and to know that it’s just right for you.

Looking for the Daily Bible Reading Commentary for John 19-21?
As of January 2012, we are no longer providing commentary in our printed LivingItOut copy. Instead, we invite you to go online and sign-up for the electronic version at www.livingitout.tv. There you can click on the Daily Bible Reading commentary link that will allow you to go deeper into your Daily Bible Reading.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.06.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.06.12.

FRIDAY — The Highest Level of Commitment

Over the past few days, we learned why commitment counts and about the symbols that typically reflect commitment and accountability. There is the ring and marriage certificate for married people. A certain uniform and medals for committed military personal. And at CedarCreek church we believe the highest level of commitment is Missional Membership. We don’t simply ask people to become Missional Members because we think it is a good idea, or a good resolution or even to make a best effort—we ask people because we know that commitment has tremendous potential to help you continue to grow in your faith. How do we know this to be true?
After reviewing our research on Missional Members, we discovered that Missional Members serve and give more, hands down; and both actions are proven to be highly catalytic in our faith. Remember the Momentum Theorem discussed yesterday? Well, here’s more application for you. What this all means is that by serving and giving, you actually become stronger Christians—which is what our desire is to begin with. Imagine that!
Together as a church we are committed to the cause of Christ and we are committed to the challenge of growing the church. And so, we are asking you to take a journey with us and engage in the Missional Membership process over the month of January. If you are already a Missional Member, we pray this review will help ignite a passion in you to tell others about what living missionally is all about and perhaps one day, they may engage in the Missional Membership process, too.

Here’s how you can begin to become engaged and committed:

1. Invite someone to the January series entitled “The Gap Series”
Throughout the month of January, the Gap Series messages will establish a great foundation to move you toward committing more toward Christ and living more missionally. We will learn why it is important to Love, Serve, Give, and Tell together. Ultimately, we’ll learn our ABC…and D’s, which is Acceptance, Baptism, Community, and Disciple-ship.

2. Engage in the Missional Membership Process
Throughout the month of January, we will provide excerpts of the Missional Membership bible study. If you follow along and do the study, you can very well finalize your Missional Membership process.

Let’s start today! Read the Statement of Faith, Values and Agreements on the pages that follow.  Then, next week, tune in for more ways to engage in the Missional Membership process. Let’s do this together!

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you commit to His will and to live with a missional mindset. Ask Him to help you stay the course on this journey toward learning how to become a Missional Member. If you are already a member, ask Him to help you create some sparks of momentum to get others to do the same!

Statement of Faith: What We Believe

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 1:9

The CedarCreek Statement of Faith summarizes our beliefs as a church. We have mentioned in other places that our theology is not innovative – anyone familiar with historic Christian doctrine will find that these statements fall in the center of orthodox evangelical theology (in other words, it is Biblical theology rather than speculative theology, or theology rooted in tradition). We try not to be dogmatic about matters on which Bible-based believers have held divergent views. We want our core beliefs to be centered on Christ and His message as found in, and sup-ported by, the clearest passages in the Bible. More obscure doctrine, or teachings with less support, are left to individuals to sort out on their own – we take no official position in these areas.
The following pages contain our Statement of Faith. Do not try to hurry through these pages, but read them slowly and thoughtfully. Ask yourself through-out, “What difference does this truth make in my life? If I didn’t know or believe this, would it matter?”

The Bible
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God and that it was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. Scripture at one and the same time speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God. 2 Timothy 3:16

God
We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity, and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning, God created the world out of nothing and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom, and goodness. By His providence, He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes. Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:34-35

Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal second person of the Trinity. We believe in His deity and in His miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. John 1:1-5

The Holy Spirit
As believers submit to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, they are enabled to live a life of holiness and obedience. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Christ. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need of a Savior and regenerates them. At the point of salvation, He permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, comfort, strength, and wisdom. He uniquely endows each believer with spiritual gifts for the building up of the church. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scriptures. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father. John 16:5-15

Salvation
The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with Him. Originally created to have fellowship with God, man defied God, choosing to go his independent way, and so was alienated from God and suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals since have suffered these consequences and are in need of the saving grace of God.
The Salvation of mankind is, then, wholly a work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness, and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith. Salvation is available to all, but it must be received to become a child of God (John 1:12). When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation. John 3:16, Romans 10:9

Human Destiny
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will deter-mine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God’s judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution for their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life. Romans 6:23

The Church
The result of being united with Jesus Christ is that all believers become positional members of his body, the Church. There is one true universal Church, comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scriptures command believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, and the teaching of the Word of God. The Scriptures command believers to devote themselves to the observance of Baptism and Communion as the sacra-mental ordinances established by Jesus Christ. We believe that Baptism by im-mersion, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is commanded by God; that it is subsequent to conversion, that it is not a saving ordinance, but an obedient outward expression of an inward work of the Spirit of God (Matthew 3:13-17).
We believe that Communion is a symbol of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, and a looking forward to the second coming of Christ to receive His own (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). The Scriptures also command believers to devote themselves to fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Every member of Christ’s body should share their Christian witness with others. Acts 2:42

Faith and Practice
Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.

We believe the Statement of Faith to be an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches. All members shall refrain from advocating doctrines that are not included in the Statement of Faith in such a way as to cause dissension.

The Five Agreements

To no one’s surprise, one distinction of growing churches is clarity of mission. But one study on church growth found that while mission clarity is important to growth, so is unity behind even the methods of that church. That is, there is gener-ally strong agreement as to the way in which the church accomplishes its mission, including music style, staff attitudes, and other unique expressions of the church. We desire and value such unity at CedarCreek. Even the Apostle Paul elevated uni-ty in the church in Philippians 2:2. “Agree wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose”.
By now, you have a pretty good sense of what we are about and how we accomplish our mission at CedarCreek. The following five statements unify us beyond the “way” in which we live out our mission at the Creek. It’s possible you may not agree with these statements, and that’s okay, but it also means you should probably stop the “Missional Membership” process because being a Missional Member at CedarCreek includes agreement with these statements.

We agree that the cause of the church is the greatest cause on the planet. (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 6:33). Note: The cause of the church is worth our very lives!

We agree to do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:22, 10:33) Note: This, of course, includes music styles and outreach methods. Re-member, anything short of sin; nothing sinful.

We agree that the church can never get too big! (Acts 1:8) Note: If we obey the commands of Jesus, the church will grow! To say a church is too big is to give up on the mission of Christ.

We agree to be an example of Jesus’s love behind and beyond the walls of CedarCreek. (Galatians 6:10, Matthew 5:16) Note: We want to be known as a church that expresses radical love to our own, as well as to others.

We agree to do more with less. Note: The average mega church in America spends $2,250 per person, per year. At CedarCreek, we spend a third of that, or $760 per per-son. In addition, the average church in America has one full-time staff member for every 80 people. At the ‘Creek our ratio is 1 to 140.

 

The Values of CedarCreek Church

We realize that we are a collection of diverse individuals and we all have slightly different values with regard to how we go about serving Christ. Still, the common values listed below define who we are and what priorities we hold. As Missional Members of CedarCreek Church, these core values unify our efforts and unite our hearts and minds as one. It is these Biblical values to which we continu-ally return as a means of refocusing our efforts and eliminating those programs that are not central to the values that we hold as a church.

We believe that anointed biblical teaching is the
primary catalyst for spiritual growth.
Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16, Acts 2:42, 2 Timothy 4:2

We believe that lost people matter to God so much
that we can’t even imagine His love for them.
John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Luke 15:7, Ephesians 3:18

We believe that loving relationships are at the heart
of a Biblically functioning community.
Galatians 5:14, Ephesians 4:25-27, Acts 4:34-35, Mathew 18:15-17

We believe that each Christian should take responsibility for their own spiritual growth, and it should be a consistent process throughout a believer’s life.
Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Colossians 2:6-7

We believe that personal spiritual disciplines are highly catalytic and essential for growth as a Christ-follower. They include prayer, solitude, daily scripture reflection and/or study.
2 Peter 1:5-9

We believe that every member should strive
to serve out of his or her spiritual giftedness.
1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11-13, Titus 1:6-9

We believe that Life Groups provide a great setting
for genuine life transformation.
Acts 2:46, Acts 5:12, Acts 20:20, 2 Timothy 2:2

We believe that prayer is the very
atmosphere of the Christian life.
Ephesians 6:12-19, Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Peter 4:7

We believe that excellence honors God
and inspires people.
2 Corinthians 8:7, Colossians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 9:22

We believe that people deserve integrity in our
financial matters, so we keep our books open.
2 Corinthians 8:20

Weekend Updates!
• Have you fallen in love and want to stay in love forever? Attend the Andy Stanley, “Staying In Love” 4-week class series at the Perrysburg and South Toledo campus, Monday, January 9th. Register at cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab or at the Welcome Center. The cost is only $7.00 for the work-book that you can pick up at The Source bookstore.

• Financial Peace University: Exciting News—Financial Peace University (“FPU”) is having a sale—you now only need to pay $80! That represents a $30 savings. The 13-week classes begin on Monday’s, January 23rd at the Whitehouse and West Toledo campus and Wednesday’s beginning January 25th at the Perrysburg and South Toledo Campus at 7pm. Childcare is available for a nominal fee. Register online at cedarcreek.tv under the get connected tab or at any Welcome Center. Registration cut-off is Friday, January 13th at 12pm.

Provide and Protect: Once you get your budget organized, then what? What happens if your health fails, you pass away or you are otherwise unable to pro-vide for your family? The Perrysburg Campus will host a seminar entitled “Provide and Protect,” Sunday, Jan 22 from 10:45am-12:15pm to give you the tools necessary to set your family up for success. A financial advisor and attor-ney will be present to answer your questions. Your only cost is the Provide and Protect book that you can pick up at The Source bookstore before the seminar begins. Register now at CedarCreek.tv under the “Get Connected” tab.

Baptism Classes: Baptisms will be held at New Community on Sunday, Jan-uary 29th at 6pm at the South Toledo Campus. Attend one of the following Bap-tism classes: Saturday, Jan 14 and 21 at 5:15pm, and Sunday, Jan 15 at 10:45am, and Sunday, Jan 29 at 4pm at the South Toledo Campus ONLY. Then at ALL campuses on Sunday, Jan 22 at 10:45am.

Living It Out: January 2012
6And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 (New Living Translation)


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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these resources are also available electronically at 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:
New Testament Commentary compiled by: Rebecka Blevins

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Diana Patton
Kaye Althaus
Tammy Kaiser

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: John 15-18
15:1 Christ is the vine and God is the gardener who cares for the branches to make them fruitful. The branches are all those who claim to be followers of Christ. The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with Christ produce much fruit. Those who become unproductive by turning away from following Christ will be cut off from the vine.
16:7 Unless Jesus did what he came to do; there would be no Good News. If he did not die, he could not remove our sin; he could not rise again and defeat death. If he did not go back to the Father, the Holy Spirit would not come. Christ’s presence on earth was limited to one place at a time. His leaving meant he could be present to the whole world through the Holy Spirit.
16:8-11 Three important tasks of the Holy Spirit are: convicting the world of its sin and calling it to repentance; revealing the standard of God’s righteousness to anyone who believes and demonstrating Christ’s judgment over Satan.
17:1 This entire chapter is Jesus’ prayer. From it we learn that the world is a bat-tleground where the forces under Satan’s power and those under God’s authority are at war. Jesus prayed that God would keep his chosen believers safe from Sa-tan’s power, setting them apart and making them pure and holy, uniting them through his truth.
18:11 “The cup” refers to the suffering, isolation, and death that Jesus would have to endure in order to atone for the sins of the world.
18:40 Barabbas was a rebel against Rome, and although he was a murderer, he was probably a hero to the Jews who hated being governed by Rome.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.05.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.05.12.

THURSDAY — Being Committed to Each Other
Big Point: Christ-centered committed people produce an exuberant energy together that is highly contagious, causing others to jump in and take action despite the odds.

Dave Ramsey devised “The Momentum Theorem;” a mathematical equation that says that “focused intensity over time, multiplied by God creates unstoppable momentum.” Take that intensity and put it up against “The FlyWheel” that Jim Collins writes about in his book “Good to Great;” that if you have people working together for a common cause or mission, you create an unstoppable synergy that makes performance happen without much effort.
We can take the above theories and apply them to real life. Have you ever heard the story behind Dick Hoyt and his son? Dick is a 70 year old dad who does triathlons with his son who has cerebral palsy. One day his son asked him if he would do a race with him and Dick said yes. They have completed more than fifty of these races. When you see Dick’s love and commitment for his son, it just makes you want to do more, maybe not a triathlon, but you feel inspired to be a better person (Google the story).
That’s exactly how the CedarCreek staff feels about Lee Powell. Lee is totally committed to the cause of Christ, his church and to his family. As a result, the staff feels this desire to want to dive in and do more and have the same level of commitment. Why? Because the staff knows that Lee won’t bail; he’ll stay committed, despite the odds! And this same energy ignites a fire within each and every volunteer to stay just as committed. That’s the Momentum Theorem.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Hebrews 10:24 (New Living Translation)
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Philippians 2:2 (New Living Translation)
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Ephesians 4:2-3 (New Living Translation)
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

1 John 4:9-10 (New Living Translation)
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

THINK…Find the answers
What are the instructions that Hebrews 10:24 and Philippians 2:2 provide for us in our pursuit to help others work with one another?

What further instructions does Ephesians 4:2 outline so that we can remain united and at peace with one another?

1 John 4:9-10 describes how committed Christ was to us. Write out all that he did for us.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Describe the efforts you take to motivate others toward love and good deeds. If you are struggling to find ways in which you motivate others, perhaps you may consider mentoring, joining a LifeGroup or volunteering more often.

Take the time to list out those that you closely associate with and how involved and committed they are to the cause of Christ and to their local church. If you find they are not as involved and committed and you feel a lack of momentum in your life, perhaps you may wish to closely associate with others to get you moving.

If you are involved, describe what inspired you to get involved and stay focused.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you get involved and feel that spark of unstoppable momentum to ignite an inferno in others to get just as involved.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: John 12-14
12:3 Essence of nard was a very expensive fragrant ointment imported from the mountains of India. The amount Mary used was worth a year’s wages.
12:27 Jesus knew his crucifixion lay ahead, and because he was human, he dreaded it. He knew he would have to take on the sins of the world and that this would separate him from the Father. He wanted to be delivered from this horri-ble death but knew that God sent him into the world to die for our sins, in our place. Jesus said no to his human desires in order to obey the Father. We also should also do whatever God asks and bring glory to His name.
12:31 The prince of this world is Satan, an angel who rebelled against God. Sa-tan is real, not symbolic, and is constantly working against God and those who obey him. Satan has great power, but people can be delivered from his reign of spiritual darkness because of Christ’s victory on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection shattered Satan’s deadly power. To overcome Satan we need faithful allegiance to God’s Word, determination to stay away from sin, and the support of other believers.
13:1-17 Washing feet was a job for a household servant to carry out, but Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist, as the lowliest slave would do, and washed his disciples’ feet. If even he, God in the flesh, is willing to serve, we as his follow-ers must also be servants, willing to serve in any way that glorifies God.
14:6 Jesus says he is the only way to God the Father. As the way, Jesus points our path to the Father. As the truth, he is the reality of all God’s promises. As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.04.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.04.12.

WEDNESDAY — Benefits of Commitment
Big Point: If you are not completely committed to Christ, then you have never truly felt the unconditional and indescribable peace his love offers.

Sara is a single mother who is blessed with a nice, home in a nice quiet neigh-borhood. A few years back she had her basement finished to create more living ar-ea because her mother could no longer live alone. Earlier this year the basement had a water backup from excessive rain. Fortunately, the insurance covered the damage and the basement was restored to better than before condition.
This past November’s record breaking rainfall backed-up water in her base-ment again and continued to gush in for over 30 hours! The furnace, water heater, brand new washer/dryer, her son’s bedroom, family room…everything was de-stroyed. This time the insurance reimbursement was not enough.
Many years ago Sara would have cried and been depressed for weeks. She always believed in Jesus Christ but her direction was wrong. CedarCreek helped steer her in the right direction by teaching directly from the Bible. God speaks through the teaching pastors and tells them what we need to hear. They encour-age daily Bible studies, focused classes, volunteering, life groups, and membership so that we grow deep roots in Jesus Christ. Sara found that these things aren’t just commercialized gimmicks to get you in the door. Instead, what she realized was that committed growth provides a peace, contentment, and love like no other. Today Sara focuses on the many blessings God has provided. The mishaps along the way are just minor inconveniences. Today brings much joy and tomorrow is a promise of eternal life. That is the peace that passes even Sara’s understanding!

READ…What does the Bible say?
Colossians 2:6-7 (New Living Translation)
6And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to fol-low him. 7Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (New Living Translation)
5In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

THINK…Find the answers
Colossians 2:6 tells us that by accepting Christ we must follow him. From this pas-sage, what kind of commitment to Christ should we have and how should our lives be built? Do you think that your level of commitment has a direct relationship to your growth? Why or why not?

What are some of the promised benefits of commitment that 2 Peter 1:5-7 describes? Could you use these things in your life?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Reread Sara’s story. Can you think of a similar experience in your own life? What was your reaction?

As time passes we can see what we should have done differently. What if we could react righteously when struggles like this happen? How much more productive would that be? In the situation above, describe how you could have reacted after reading the scripture? If so, how would you react now?

What are some things you can do to grow in Christ and reap the benefits he promises?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray that the Lord blesses you with the wisdom to see the goodness in all things. To guide you in the right direction that will bless you with His promises and provide joy, peace, and love in your life. Also pray that God provides opportunities for you to share these blessing with others so they may experience His promise as well.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: John 9-11
9:2, 3 A common belief in Jewish culture was that suffering was the result of some great sin. Christ used the man’s suffering to teach about faith and to glorify God. If God took away suffering whenever we asked we would follow Him out of comfort and convenience, not out of love and devotion. Regardless of the reasons for our suffering, Jesus has the power to help us deal with it.
10:1 At night, sheep were gathered into a sheepfold to protect them. The sheep-folds were often caves, sheds or open areas surrounded by stone walls. The shep-herd often slept in the fold to protect the sheep. Just as the shepherd cares for his sheep, Jesus the good shepherd, cares for his flock (those who follow Him).
10:16 The “other sheep” were non-Jews. Jesus came to save Gentiles as well as Jews. This is an insight to Jesus’ mission-to die for the sins of the world. People want to restrict God’s blessings to one group, but Jesus refuses to be limited by the fences we make.
10:30 This is the clearest statement of Christ’s divinity he ever made. Jesus and his Father are not the same person, but they are one in essence and nature. Thus, Jesus is not merely a good teacher—He is God.
11:5-7 Jesus loved this family and often stayed with them. He knew their pain but did not respond immediately. His delay had a specific purpose. God’s timing, es-pecially his delays, may make us think He is not answering or not answering the way we want. He will meet our needs according to His perfect purpose.
11:25, 26 Jesus has the power over life and death and the power to forgive sins. Whoever believes in him has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer. Those who believe in him have a wonderful assurance that they will live again.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.03.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.03.12.

TUESDAY — Jesus Sets a High Bar For Us
Big Point: Most people simply form a resolution and settle for their best efforts, but Jesus commands more from us as Christians.

A RESOLUTION: a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Most people believe that making a resolution is all they need to do in order to grow in their faith. Resolutions involve our head and our heart—we feel something strongly, therefore we make a decision to do or not to do it. In January we may resolve to stop smoking, eating fast food, dating someone who is really wrecking our life, etc. We may also resolve to do good things…go to the gym, forgive someone, pay more attention to our relationships, etc.

Data on Resolutions:

  • 67% of people make resolutions
  • 2/3 of people make three or more
  • Only 6% keep resolutions all year.

Experts say it is because while a resolution is a good thing, it isn’t specific enough and people usually try to resolve to do too many things. A resolution is an important decision, but it isn’t a plan.

BEST EFFORT: I’m doing what I need to do 95-99% of the time.
While this is a good place to be it is still only, JUST ENOUGH. 95-99% of you are right here, right now. But, there is a reason why you aren’t totally committed in your faith and that last four or five percent always nags at you. The problem with settling for “best effort” is that there is always a little trap door that exists that gives you an out when you want one. We’ll say we won’t use it, but we like knowing it’s there in case we want to bail.
When we finally let go of that last piece of our life, that trap door, and turn it over to God, then we find great joy and satisfaction in being totally committed. We must break the bond of the last little bit of control, everything we hold dear, and turn it over to God and follow Him completely.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 14:25-33 (New Living Translation)
25A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29Otherwise, you might complete only the foundations before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30They would say, ‘There’s the per-son who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
31“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against them? 32And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to dis-cuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”

Psalm 37:4-5 (New Living Translation)
4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. 5Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

THINK…Find the answers
As you read in Luke, Jesus raised the bar high knowing that most people wouldn’t commit. Jesus isn’t begging us to commit to him. He gives us the standard and asks us to reach for it. What does it say we must do in verses 26-27?

What does Psalm 37:4-5 say we must do to get God’s help and the desires of our heart?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Looking at your life, what are you giving—your “Best Effort” or are you “Totally Committed” to God? If you are giving your best effort, what is the 4-5% you need to let go of but just have not done yet?

Look back at the three resolutions you wrote down on Monday and the scripture for the day. Now write a plan to stay committed to these resolutions, and to God.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray that God will help you become completely committed, giving it all to Him.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: John 6-8
6:5-7 When Jesus asked Philip where they could buy a great amount of bread, Philip assessed the cost. Jesus wanted to teach him that financial resources are not the most important. We can limit what God does by our assumptions of what is possible. God can do miracles; trust in Him to provide the resources.
6:8, 9 The boy offered what little he had and it made all the difference. If we offer nothing to God, He will have nothing to use, but He can take the little we have and turn it into something great.
7:3-5 Jesus’ brothers had a hard time believing in him. It is only after his death and resurrection that they finally began to believe.
7: 7 Since the world hated Jesus, we who follow him can expect that many people will hate us as well. We can be grateful when life goes well, but we must make sure that it is not because of following Jesus halfheartedly or not at all.
7:26 This chapter shows the many reactions people had toward Jesus. They call him a wonderful man (7:12), a fraud (7:12), a demon possessed man (7:20), the Messiah (7:26), and the Prophet, whose coming was predicted by Moses (7:40). We must make up our own minds what Jesus is, but remembering that whatever we decide will have eternal consequences.
8:7 This is a significant statement about judging others. Because Jesus upheld the legal penalty for adultery, stoning—he could not be accused of being against the law. However, by saying that only a sinless person could throw the first stone, he was showing the importance of mercy and forgiveness. When others are caught in sin, do not pass judgment because you have also sinned. Only God can judge.