Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 02.01.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 02.01.12.

WEDNESDAY — Our Dream!
Big Point: Be an effective ambassador for Christ by living CedarCreek’s dream and we’ll rejoice together when others get to know Christ!

On page 10, see the Response Questions for “Tell” in order to complete the
Commitment portion of the Missional Membership Process.

        Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King Day … many of you recalled the memorable “I Have A Dream” speech that he gave at the base of the Lincoln Memorial years ago. The words are familiar to many, yet the dream is sadly, in some places, still just a dream. One hundred years earlier, President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which announced, “All persons held as slaves…shall be then, thenceforth, and forever free.” King, on that day in August 1963, once again called people back to live out that proclamation and looked forward to a time when that dream would become reality; “When the nation would live out the true meaning of its creed, that all men are created equal; that one day people would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” On that day, he called people to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that one day they would be free at last. This speech became the launching pad for many organizations that continued to fight for freedom long after King‘s death.
        Jesus Christ also has a dream. The dream is recorded in the Bible a number of times, but is articulated most clearly in Matthew 28:19-20, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” It is called the Great Commission, and it is the reason behind everything we do at CedarCreek.
        At CedarCreek, everything we do is designed to fulfill the dream Jesus has for the world. Our Vision, Core Values, strategy, ministries, etc. even our membership process are designed to help unchurched people meet the loving God of the Bible, to begin a relationship with Him, become conformed to His character and then grow in obedience to all that He has asked us to do. This is the reason we work together, pray together, struggle together. It is the reason that we exist—IT’S OUR DREAM!

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible
Motivation to Reach the World

1. In Acts 1:6-8, Jesus makes it clear that God plans to use His followers to spread the message of salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says that the reason we were brought into God’s family is so that we could help bring others to Him. Read these two passages. How do you feel knowing that God’s plan to reach the world involves you being His messenger?
Acts 1:6-8 (New Living Translation)
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (New Living Translation)
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! 18All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people‘s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. 20We are Christ‘s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, Be reconciled to God!”21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Answer:

 

 

2. Another motivating force for becoming an effective ambassador for Christ is the reality of hell. Even though you may hate to think about it, hell is a real place and real people go there. There are many people in your life who will face a Christ-less eternity if they don’t find forgiveness in Christ. The stakes are “sky high” and eternity is hanging in the balance. As you read the following two passages about hell from the Bible, what things do you learn about hell and what feelings do you experience? (See also Luke 16:24, Luke 13:28, Revelation 14:10-11, Revelation 20:10, and Revelation 21:8)
Matthew 13:41-42 (New Living Translation)
I, the Son of Man, will send my angels, and they will remove from my Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil,42 they will throw them into the furnace and burn them. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Revelation 20:15 (New Living Translation)
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Answer:

 

 

3. Does the reality of hell motivate you to share your faith? If so, how? If not, why do you think it has no motivational power on you?

A third, more positive motivating force for becoming an effective ambassador for Christ is the joyous celebration that occurs when someone comes to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. Just imagine what it would be like—what an incredible thrill you would have—if someone you had been praying for looked you in the eye and said to you, “Thanks for being faithful to what God called you to do. Thanks for reaching out to me. Thanks for praying for me. Thanks for putting up with my rebellion. Thanks for loving me when I wasn’t all that loveable. Jesus saved me, but thanks for leading me to his cross.” Once you have led a spiritual seeker into a right relationship with God through Christ, you will never be the same. The passion to reach out grows each time you experience the joy of seeing a seeker become a devoted follower of Christ. Absolutely nothing compares!

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you stay motivated to reach out and tell the World about Christ!

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.31.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.31.12.

TUESDAY — We’ve All Blown It!
Big Point: Sin has a way of knocking us off our pedestal of pride that fakes us into believing that we are perfect prized possessions—it’s only when we choose to accept Christ’s free gift that we can live wisely and have eternal life!

Once we start believing that humans are infallible, that’s where the trouble starts. The media can almost mesmerize us into thinking that those who do great things are beyond reproach, that they are quite simply anointed and appointed in a manner that we could never ever dream for ourselves. Think about the most noble, most upstanding person that you respect—whether that be a public figure, a close personal friend, a mentor, or even those who have been appointed as a saint. Do you realize they have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard? All of them! But when one of those public figures has one blemish, one stain that media can exploit, oh man, they just go for the jugular, don’t they? We always see it in politics, one after another, folks like Herman Cain just bite the dust. Think about the most recent controversial story of Joe Paterno. Now that brought out quite a few emotions, from Christian and non-Christians alike. The question is, who decides whether these people can be made right by God? Is it us, or is it God? And by the same token, how are we to respond when the figurative “media-stoning” begins— when someone’s sin is written on the front page of the New York Times? Should we go ahead and cast our own stones?
        We spoke of Facebook earlier, and it is so easy to cast stones at someone as we sit behind our computer screens. But even then, the scriptures still apply, that if even the most heinous or the most noteworthy person confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart, they are made right by God. And we are to live wisely among non-believers, making the most of every opportunity, even with the Joe Paterno incident, allowing our conversation to be gracious and attractive—yes, even on Facebook (now, don’t go cancelling your Facebook account, we won’t judge you!)

READ and THINK…Find Answers in the Bible
1. The scriptures below talk about who has sinned and what price tag that sin has. But what does the free gift of God allow? Write out your answer after reading the scripture below: Romans 3:23 (New Living Translation) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23
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:

 

 

2. God requires us to take some action when we receive this free gift of salvation. We can’t just have a conscious thought that this all seems good and right. We have to take some concrete steps. Write out what those steps are as outlined in Romans 10:9-10.

Romans 10:9-10 (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. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Answer:

 

 

3. If you are like most people, when you are around non-believers, you sometimes just want to fit in, be like everyone else and kind of go with the crowd. Some of us can relate to Peter who did not want to admit he was a Christ follower as there would have been some serious repercussions. But, Colossians 4:5,6 issues a challenge to us—write out those challenges in the space below. What ultimately is this passage preparing us to do?

Colossians 4:5-6 (New Living Translation)
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Think back to some of the “media-stonings” that you’ve witnessed in the past. How often did you say to yourself “oh, too bad for that guy” or, “it stinks to be him or her.” Perhaps you just thought it. At anytime, did the scripture passages that we just reviewed in Romans come to mind at all? Describe the thoughts you had and how you can mentally process those incidences in the future.

 

How comfortable are you as a Christian when you are around non-believers? Do you ever struggle with knowing when to say things and when not to say things? Describe what your typical response is when you find yourself in an awkward situation.

 

What steps can you take to begin to live wisely so that your conversation is gracious and attractive? Did you sign up for the Apprentice Conference yet? Perhaps a New Christian Life Group would help. What will you do?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Take the time right now to enter into a state of worshipping God. Turn on some Christian music—something that really touches your heart and begin to think about your own salvation. Praise him for washing your sins away. Ask Him to help you live wisely by making your conversation gracious and attractive.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.30.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.30.12.

 

Can you think of the most contemporary way for the average “Joe” to share something with a ton of people all at one time? Years ago, the first thought that would likely pop into our mind would be radio, newspaper or, if you were the “Joe” who had tons of cash, perhaps television. But, who has that kind of cash stashed away (well, perhaps the Financial Peace University graduates)?

No, this electronic communication vehicle allows you to reach out and touch upwards of 150, 300, and even 3,000 (if you are Kyle Gray) close friends, acquaintances, and admirers who will likely listen to your daily ramblings. All you have to do is write a post and click to send. You guessed it, Facebook! Check out these fun Facebook facts:
1. There are more than 800 million active users.
2. More than 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day (even at work!).
3. An average user has 130 friends (… obviously not Kyle Gray).
4. An average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events.
5. More than 350 million users access Facebook through their mobile phone.

You probably know by now where we are going. Here’s the deal; If you are looking for a way to tell the world about Christ, Facebook is a great way to do it. CedarCreek figured that out with its 6,815 followers. Think we’ll meet our vision with that many followers? We think so! Combine that with our use of technology like the iCampus and iChat, and you can see how we can truly live out our mission and vision here and abroad. Our vision is to be a contemporary church for the unchurched and spiritually restless, starting in Perrysburg and reaching out to the Greater Toledo area, helping people to love Jesus, serve others, and tell the world about Christ, and then multiplying our efforts through new church plants.

Of course, we realize that we cannot fulfill Christ’s mission as individuals. Jesus himself organized the Church to represent his hands, feet, and presence to the world. That’s why we desire to become a Biblically functioning community furthering his kingdom in obedience to the Great Commission. Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost, we feel compelled to do the same. Through all of the ministries and sub-ministries of our church, we desire people not only to meet Christ, but also, over time, to grow in their faith so that they live obediently to his commands and become conformed to his character.

That is our vision! Can you see this unfolding? Are you on board? While we are not requiring that you sign-up as a Facebook user we truly would like you to live out the Great Commission, telling people about Christ everywhere! This Bible study will provide some Biblically helpful tips to carry out our vision. You’ll also have the opportunity to complete the “Tell” portion of Missional Membership on page 6-9, complete the personal response questions, and take that final step to commit to becoming a Missional Member. Be sure to tell others what you learn.

Tell It!
Who: Those who don’t know Christ
What: That everyone needs him
When: At every opportunity
Where: Everywhere
How: Facebook? Invite card …etc.
Next: Teach and train them!

IN THIS WEEK’S STUDY WE’LL FILL IN THE GAP ON HOW TO LIVE A FULL LIFE BY TELLING THE WORLD ABOUT CHRIST!

MONDAY — Do You Really Know Him?
Big Point: Our duty is to wholeheartedly fall in love with Christ and to share everything we know about him with others.

        Earlier we spoke about the average “Joe” telling the world about Christ. Well, you can’t get more average than author James Bryan Smith when he was in high school. In his book, “Good and Beautiful God.” Smith talks about his early days coming from a Christmas-and-Easter only Methodist family. At that time he liked sports, pretty girls and Jesus—in that order. He shared how average he was academically, graduating three hundredth out of six hundred. But something marvelous happened when Smith entered college—Jesus began moving up the “priority” list and he decided to transfer to a Christian college. As Christ became a priority, Smith began encountering mentors and fell deeply in love with the God that Jesus knows. He writes about mentors like Richard J. Foster, author of the most significant Christian book “Celebration of Discipline;” Henri Nouwen, a great spiritual writer; Richard Mullens, songwriter and recording artist of “Awesome God” and “Step by Step.”
        Eventually, Smith and Foster launched a spiritual renewal ministry called Renevare and began traveling around the world telling people how to live a deeper, more balanced life with God. Through Smith’s travels, he met Dr. Dallas Willard, author of the book “Divine Conspiracy” and philosophy professor at University of Southern California. Smith spent over seven hundred hours listening to Willard teach about God, the Kingdom of God, the Bible, the spiritual disciplines and how they apply to life in general. That’s a lot of hours. Eventually, Smith created a curriculum that teaches people around the country to live as Jesus taught us to live and that genuine transformation into the character of Christ really is possible. Are you interested in living this way? The more you learn about God, the more genuine you are in sharing about Him. Well, we have GREAT NEWS, James Bryan Smith is coming to CedarCreek church on March 1st and 2nd to conduct the Apprentice Conference—learn more below!

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible
1. Have you ever blotted out something that stained a piece of clothing? It’s as if the stain was never there. Christ does the same for us as outlined in the scripture below. Describe in your own words what is happening here:
2 Corinthians 5:19 (New Living Translation)
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

Answer:

2. Matthew 28:19 describes how we can best symbolize our submission to Christ and our willingness to live God’s way, and how we can identify ourselves with God’s covenant. Write out what that symbol is and what command the scripture tells us to do.
Matthew 28:19 (New Living Translation)
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Answer:

3. One of the most popular quoted scriptures has to be John 3:16. Have you ever truly examined this type of love and what eternal life means in this passage? If you read closely, you’ll see love that equals a high degree of self-sacrifice. Describe the sacrifice outlined in this scripture and what eternal life means to you:

John 3:16 (New Living Translation)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Answer:

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever considered it your life’s work to learn about Christ? If not, why not?

Have you ever counted the hours that you have learned about Christ? Some can point to hours spent in a Life Group or in their own personal study. But most can likely point solely to the weekend message. Sadly, that’s just not enough. Try to review the past twenty years of your life and jot down the hours that you have spent learning about Christ. Hours:
• During the day:
• During the week:
• During the month:
• Average yearly hours:

Let’s start doing the work that Christ asks us to do. Be his apprentice, disciple others. Ready? Write out how you will start the process. Here, we’ll help you take one step. Read the above box quote and signup for the Apprentice Conference. Go to cedarcreek.tv under the get connected tab to learn more.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to make you a sponge, soaking up every morsel of His Word so that you know everything about Him and can become His Apprentice, His disciple, telling everyone about the Christ.

The Apprentice Conference
When:
Thu, March 1st (6:30-9p) – $10
Fri, March 2nd (8:30-3p) – $10
$20.00 for both—lunch Friday.
Where:
Perrysburg Campus
For Who:
Everyone who wants to learn to be
Christ’s Apprentice!
How to Sign-up:
Complete the weekend message
insert and drop off at the Welcome
Center or at www.cedarcreek.tv under
the get connected tab.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.27.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.27.12.

 FRIDAY — Take the Tithe Test Challenge

       Test God’s faithfulness by “tithing” (giving 10% of your household income) to God through CedarCreek Church for a three month period. At the end of the three month period, if you’re not convinced of God’s faithfulness as a result of your obedience to His Word, then you will be entitled to a refund of the full amount of contributions made during that three month period.

Malachi 3:10 (New Living Translation)
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you.”

Please read the following guidelines:
1. I understand that the form below must be completed and received by CedarCreek Church before, or the week of, starting the challenge.

2. I understand that my household qualifies for participation because I/we have not been tithing for the last six months.

3. I understand that if paid at a physical CedarCreek Church campus, my tithe must be paid by credit/debit card (online or at a giving kiosk), by check, or by completing an offering envelope if using cash, so that my tithe can be properly credited to my name.

4. I understand that I cannot seek a refund prior to the end of the three month period and I must tithe for the entire period to be eligible for a refund.

5. I understand that any request for a refund must be received by the church within 30 days of the end of the three month Tithe Challenge period.

6. I would like to test God’s faithfulness by accepting the three month Tithe Challenge. I agree that for the three month period I state below, my household will contribute to God, through CedarCreek Church, a tithe equal to 10% of my/our income. At the end of the three month period, if I am not convinced by God’s faithfulness as a result of my obedience to His Word, then I will be entitled to request a refund of the full amount of contributions made during that three month period.

________________(fill out, tear off bottom, and drop off at church office/offering):___________

Challenge Registration Email: _________________________________

First Name: ______________________ Last Name: ______________________

Address: _________________________________________ City:_________ State: ____________ Zip:____________

Three Month Period I (we) will participate:
From: ________________ To: ____________________

 

 Personal Response Questions: Take the time to answer these questions in response to what you’ve learned about giving to Jesus from pages 6-9:

1. Do you think Christians should tithe (giving 10% of income as an act of worship)? Why or why not?

2. In light of the tithe as a Biblical precedent for giving, do you regularly support this body using 10% as a goal to reach (or surpass as God prospers)? If not, describe your current practice and ways you’re moving toward this goal.

3. What does the implication of the verses on stewardship have on your own possessions (See page 7)?

4. Do you believe the way you use your material wealth is God-honoring in all respects? If no, in what areas are you lacking? What action are you taking to make changes?

5. What challenge is presented in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7? What promise?

6. If proportionate giving becomes possible for you (that is, giving beyond 10% of your income), what dreams do you have of using your resources so the Kingdom can expand locally and around the world?

  Weekend Updates!
• Apprentice Conference Series:
Is your life reflective of the spirit of Jesus Christ – that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? If not, are you interested in becoming that type of person? If so, The Apprentice Conference Series can help. On Thursday, March 1st from 6:30-9pm and Friday, March 2nd, 9-3pm at the Perrysburg Campus nationally acclaimed Apprentice Series authors, Jimmy Taylor and James Smith are flying to Toledo teach us how to develop Christ-Centered character, see God and find balance in our daily life, develop spiritual practices, and build community! The cost is only $20.00 for both days and $10.00 for one and includes the book and lunch (if you attend Friday). Childcare is available on Thursday only. Register at www.cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab.

• Interested in getting Baptized: Baptisms will be held at New Community on Sun., Jan. 29th at 6pm at the South Toledo Campus. Attend one of the following Baptism class: Sun., Jan. 29th at 4pm at South Toledo Campus.

 

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 01.26.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.26.12.

THURSDAY — A Christ-filled attitude toward giving
Big Point: Give joyfully and without over zealous attention to yourself as God loves a cheerful and self-less giver.

On page 11, see the Response Questions for Giving in order to complete the Commitment
portion of the Missional Membership Process.

      Followers of Christ realize that God is the owner and giver of all things and that we are God’s managers of all that He has entrusted to us.
        In light of this, they desire to be responsible caretakers of the material resources that God has entrusted to them. They recognize the tithe (10% of one’s earnings) as the historic standard of giving in Scripture. But moreover, in response to Christ’s abundant giving, they increasingly submit to His Lordship and display a spirit of generosity and cheerfulness in supporting the work of the church.

READ and THINK…Find Answers in the Bible

Savings and Debt
1. In this age of easy credit and consumer debt, what does the timeless wisdom of God have to say concerning how we as Christ-followers handle our desires and indebtedness?

Proverbs 22:7 and 26-27 (New Living Translation)
7Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender … 26 Do not co-sign another person’s note or put up a guarantee for someone else’s loan. 27If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.

Answer:

 

2. Why do you think the Scriptures elevate practices such as saving and avoiding debt to a spiritual level rather than just a simple monetary one?

Answer:

 

Attitudes toward Money and Giving
1. What additional lessons about giving can be gleaned from the following passages? (See also Proverbs 23:4-5)

Matthew 6:3-4 (New Living Translation)
But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. 4Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (New Living Translation)
Now about the money being collected for the Christians in Jerusalem: You should follow the same procedures I gave to the churches in Galatia. 2On every Lord’s Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

2 Corinthians 8:8 (New Living Translation)
I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19 (New Living Translation)
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. 7After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. 8So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows … 17Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. 19By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.

Answer:

 

2. What attitudes should characterize giving according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-7?
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (New Living Translation)
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But one who plants generously will get a generous crop.7You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.

Answer:

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you apply the above scripture by learning how to save and reduce debt and have the correct attitude towards giving.

Mature Christians Give:
Locally…Knowing that they claim this church as their spiritual home, they support the ministries from which they derive benefit.
Liberally…As they are able, they go beyond giving to their own church and contribute to the cause of Christ globally. Cheerfully…Knowing that God sees the heart, they don’t just give begrudgingly to an organization—they give their offering as unto God Himself; they do so willingly, and not under compulsion, but with joyful worship as their resources flow out to serve others.
Anonymously…They don’t call attention to themselves when they give or expect their offering to produce an advantage in the church.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.25.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.25.12.

WEDNESDAY — Biblical tithing, stewardship, and saving
Big Point: Guilt and legalistic “obedience” toward giving that creates financial dependence is a dangerous trap—simply give generously, proportionately, and regularly.

On page 11, see the Response Questions for Giving in order to complete the Commitment
portion of the Missional Membership Process.

What is the difference between a house and a home? An empty house can look sterile and cold. However, that same home takes on an entirely new feel with the addition of furnishings, wall coverings and most of all, people that care about the house. When all of those elements are added to the empty space, well, that’s when a house morphs into a home.
        While new homes are under construction, the waiting homeowners aren’t discouraged by the unpainted walls or uncovered floors. Neither will you hear a home owner say, “Yeah, when the home is done, I’m just gonna leave it like that.” Once the contractor turns over the keys, priority number one is moving in personal belongings in hopes of creating a space that can be lived in and shared with others. We’ve been using house construction as an analogy for the work that God wants to do in our lives. First, we turn our affections toward God, and the ultimate goal is to love Him with all of our heart. Then, a proper foundation must be laid in order for us to establish right attitudes (beliefs), for they lead to right behaviors—that’s learning to love God with all of our minds.
        Now, we are looking at the transformation God is doing in our hearts and minds and we are challenged with the outward expression of what is taking place in our hearts, specifically how we view our money and our stuff as well as how we spend our time.

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible Biblical Tithing
1. What percentage is common to the following biblical stories of giving?

Leviticus 27:30, 32 (New Living Translation)
A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. 32The Lord also owns every tenth animal counted off from your herds and flocks. They are set apart to him as holy.

Malachi 3:8-10 (New Living Translation)
“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won‘t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!” (See also Genesis 14:18-20)

Answer:

Stewardship of Our Resources
2. In Luke 14:33, Jesus lays out for His followers the percentage of our worldly goods that belong to Him, and the worldly goods that are ours. What is your reaction to His teaching in this verse? Luke 14:33 (New Living Translation) So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me. Answer: 3. What’s the moral of the story Jesus summarized in Luke 16:10-12?

Luke 16:10-12 (New Living Translation)
“Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.11And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people‘s money, why should you be trusted with money of your own?”

Answer:

 

Savings and Debt
1. Why is the ant a good model of proper money management according to Proverbs 6:6-11?

Proverbs 6:6-11 (New Living Translation)
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise! 7Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work, 8they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? I want you to learn this lesson: 10A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—11and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

Answer:

 

2. What does the writer of Proverbs say about “get rich quick” schemes?

Proverbs 28:20 (New Living Translation)
The trustworthy will get a rich reward. But the person who wants to get rich will only get into trouble.

Answer:

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you learn to give generously, proportionately, and regularly.

 

Mature Christians Give:
Generously
…They know Christ has given all to them, and they know Christ owns all they have anyway. Proportionally…They try to give as high a percentage of their income as possible, recognizing the tithe (10%) as a long-established benchmark which may well be exceeded as they prosper.
Regularly…As resources flow in, they offer their “first-fruits” back to God, honoring Him before any others.

 

 

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.24.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.24.12.

TUESDAY — Take Steps To Be What You Should Be
Big Point: Even if you have to take baby steps towards giving, take that step. There have been many before that have taken that one small step that leads to growth in Christ!

If you have not heard the name Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University (“FPU”), perhaps you’ve been taking way too many naps in church. Dave is nationally known for the assistance he provides through FPU to individuals who struggle with managing their finances. FPU helps people learn how to stop worrying about money and to be a good steward of their finances. Dave created FPU as a means of educating people on how to rewire their brains with the goal of giving more! He starts with the step that we discussed yesterday by knowing that everything we own is God’s. From there, he introduces a series of step by step instructions on how to be what we should be in Christ as it relates to our finances. FPU talks about taking seven baby steps. They are:
1. Create a $1,000 emergency fund.
2. Pay off all debt with his signature “Debt Snowball” methodology.
3. Create a reserve: 3-6 months of expenses in savings.
4. Invest 15% of income in Roth IRA’s and other annuities. 5. Create a college fund for your children.
6. Pay off your home early.
7. Build wealth and give!

          How do you measure up to these steps? If you wonder how people who have little to no money still give with peace and joy in their heart, you’ll find they had to reposition their heart toward Christ. Learn how to take steps toward giving with the right attitude and how God can entrust more to you as you depend on Him through the scriptures below.

READ and THINK…Find Answers in the Bible
1. During Paul’s third missionary journey, he collected money for impoverished believers in Jerusalem. However, the people in the churches in that area had given more than Paul expected. What were the people experiencing in that time and what did Paul testify to regarding their giving:

2 Corinthians 8:2-3 (New Living Translation)
2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.

Answer:

 

2. What point is Jesus trying to make as it relates to us abiding by the law of giving and our general attitudes and behavior toward giving in Matthew 23:23:

Matthew 23:23 (New Living Translation)
23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

Answer:

 

3. Jesus is trying to make yet another crucial point in the parable outlined in the scripture below. What lesson is Jesus trying to teach us about our responsibility in using what God has given us?

Matthew 25:14-21 (New Living Translation)
14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. 16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. 19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ 21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
1. After reading the seven baby steps that Dave Ramsey outlined in FPU, list how many steps you have taken for yourself. If you have not taken any of these steps, list which steps you will work on first.

 

 

2. How well do you manage your current finances? Explain why you believe you are a good steward with what you currently have and how you would steward if God wills for you to have more:

 

 

3. Do you have any hesitation with giving on your own free will or do you feel like people are pressuring you to give? Describe what needs to change in your heart.

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you take steps toward having a heart of giving. Ask Him to help you to be a good steward of what you currently have so that you can be entrusted with more as Christ’s wills for you.

 

Interested in Taking A Steps? Financial Peace University
started this week! If you are still interested in joining this class, Perrysburg and South Toledo class begins tomorrow. Contact lindseyp@cedarcreek.tv to learn how to get involved!

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.23.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.23.12.

We’ve all likely heard the scripture “It’s better to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). While most would agree with that piece of scripture, some can honestly say, “Well, I don’t have much or anything at all to give.” It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they live paycheck to paycheck. And even that’s an understatement. After paying the mortgage, the car payment, a plethora of monthly credit card bills, gas, food, and general utilities; there’s really not much to give at the end of the month. We find ourselves just like the guy who was cutting up the pie in the video, “God’s Pie.” We are hard pressed just to give God a sliver of that pie because we have to satisfy our own needs and wants first. Sadly, we act like God is not there and ignore Him, all the while knowing something just isn’t right.

The unfortunate and sad reality is some of us have simply fallen into a subtle form of slavery, and we just don’t realize it. We’ve become shackled at the ankles, wrists, and knees at a 9.5% interest rate. We don’t even know our names and what we actually own because other banks, lending institutions, and major stores have their names dangling above the items that we thought we needed and deserved, for some reason or another, during that purchasing moment. We justify ourselves with the “I work hard, I live in America, I deserve it, and I should have it my way” anthem. Unfortunately, that way of thinking is a dangerous trap.
Reality is, our brains are quite simply out of whack. Our thinking has conformed to the world’s mismanagement of finances. Think about it, when was the last time we’ve had a balanced budget? It’s time to begin the process of rewiring our brain to create new ways of thinking. It’s time to overhaul our entire view about money and how it should be used in our everyday life. Ask any well-trained psychologist, and they will tell you that to create a new pattern of thinking, you must form a new belief. The belief we must hold true is that everything we own or will ever receive now and in the future is God’s. If you even have a hint of doubt about that belief, you need to rewire your brain’s patterns. Your first exercise is to learn as much as possible about how God wants us to view our finances by completing this study. Did you know that God asks us to put Him to the test—that if we bring our tithes to Him, He will pour out a blessing so big we won’t even have room to take it in (Malachi 3:10). Seriously? That’s better than playing the lottery. Oh, and that’s just the beginning. Keep reading.

Over time, as you build your knowledge, faith, and trust in God, you will know how much you should give and when you should give it. Your brain will trigger an automatic thought to give your first fruit of your labor to Him. Not your last.

If you’ve been following along with the Living It Out, this week you’ll complete the “Give” portion of the Missional Membership on pages 6-9. We encourage you to complete all portions of this study. Dig down deep and uproot any doubts you have—all we have is God’s! Honor Him with your giving.

MONDAY — Biblical Financial Literacy
Big Point: In order to be financially literate in Christ, we must first believe that God is the legal owner of everything we have or will ever attain in the future!

     In the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” Robert Kiyosaki references a 1923 meeting that took place at the Edgewater Beach hotel in Chicago between the richest business men at that time. Among them were Charles Schwab, head of the largest independent steel company; Samuel Insull, president of the world’s largest utility; Howard Hopson, head of the largest gas company; Ivar Krueger, president of the International Match Co., one of the world’s largest companies at the time; Leon Frazier, president of the Bank of International Settlements; Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange; Arthur Cotton and Jesse Livermore, two of the biggest stock speculators; and Albert Fall, a member of President Harding’s cabinet. Twenty five years later, nine of them ended up as follows: Schwab died penniless after living for five years on borrowed money. Insull, Krueger and Cotton died broke. Hopson went insane. Whitney and Fall were released from prison and Frazier and Livermore committed suicide.
        We don’t know what truly happened to these men—although the date indicates it preceded the 1929 market crash. What we do know is that these men, at some point, truly attained the world’s standard of financial literacy. But you wonder how many of them had biblical financial literacy—knowing that as much as they believed they earned their wealth, it all belonged to God … that’s the first principle of biblical literacy. Could it have saved a suicide, a prison sentence, a penniless ending? Only one can ponder. Here’s a thought: take the road less traveled—learn biblical financial literacy so that if your world comes crashing down, you know who ultimately owns everything and where your hope lies!

READ and THINK … Find the Answers in the Bible
1. The term ownership means the legal right of possession. In Psalm 24:1, we learn who has legal right of possession of all we have. Describe the actions you should take knowing that everything in the earth is God’s? If asked how you steward or take care of what God owns, how would you respond? Respond with how you take care of the earth and how you take care of yourself:

Psalm 24:1 (New Living Translation)
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.

Answer:

 

2. It’s pretty overwhelming to think that everything we have comes from God. It’s easy to believe that since we earned what we have, by our hard work, we own it. But, 1 Chronicles 29 puts an exclamation point behind Psalm 24:1 with an added twist. A substantial amount of honor and praise is given to God in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13. Write out all the praise that is given in the space below the scripture. Then, describe in your own words what verse 14 means when it says “we give you only what you first gave us.”

1 Chronicles 29:11-14 (New Living Translation)
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!” Answer: 3. Proverbs 3:9 tells us how we are to honor God, write out how:

Proverbs 3:9 (New Living Translation)
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with being financially literate according to the world’s standard. That in and of itself is being a good steward of all that God owns. But what we should do is begin our financial literacy training with a biblical view.

1. List out all of your major worldly possessions, one by one. Those things that you believe are of a sentimental or physical value. Perhaps you have these items listed in your Will somewhere. Take the time to list them here or on a separate piece of paper:

2. Write down the emotions and feelings that you would experience if you lost the items you listed, or if they were suddenly taken away from you:

 

3. How do you feel knowing that God owns all that you have listed?

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you obtain a biblical financial literacy viewpoint. Ask Him for the peace in knowing that if everything came crashing down, you have hope in Him.

A reminder: if you are looking for the Daily Bible Reading Commentary, go to www.livingitout.tv and click on the Daily Bible commentary link that precedes the Daily Bible Reading for a particular day. We are limited in space with our printed version to truly delve into a commentary study.