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.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 01.02.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 01.02.12.

Series: Happy New Year
This Week: Commitment Counts

“Commitment” is something we often think of in a romantic relationship—when a woman and a man have made a commitment to each other. In this con-text, we understand it’s important and the message is loud and clear. If you declare you’re committed to another person you typically freely express the importance of that person, and your relationship with that person.
But what about our relationship with God? Do we treat our personal relation-ship with God that same way? Do we freely tell others we are in a “committed” relationship with God and what that relationship means to us?
In general, when you make a commitment, it inspires you to perform to the best of your abilities; demonstrates to the world that you are serious about taking action; protects and strengthens your credibility and reputation with yourself and others; fills a team with passionate energy, unstoppable momentum and tremendous pride.
But when we are totally committed to our relationship to God and to our faith, we begin to see God working through our lives—especially during times when we struggle. There are times when we have financial struggles, health and relationship struggles, and we choose God over negative alternatives. Through our struggles, our commitment to our faith is strengthened and in return, we challenge and motivate others.
How do you become committed to Christ? Answer: by making the commitment! That can be as easy as it sounds—by doing an act to confirm your commitment. In a romantic relationship we make a commitment through marriage. In business relationships, we make a commitment through contracts. With God we make a commitment through several channels, one of which is by living a more mission-minded life and we can do that by taking a step toward Missional Membership here at CedarCreek (we will discuss this more on Friday). Making a commitment will involve a specific goal, a plan and most importantly, accountability. It will take your whole heart, head, hands, feet, and your friends!
As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 begins, take time to reflect over the past twelve months and the events in your life. Remember the good and the bad times. Statistically, we know that 67% of you reading this will make at least one New Year’s Resolution. But making a resolution isn’t enough. This week we’ll review how making a Christ-centered commitment can have a lasting impact on you, your relationship with God, and on others. We will review the standards Jesus set forth for us as Christians and read stories of how commitment to Christ benefited people at their most difficult times. Finally, we will discover what is the highest level of commitment you can make as a Christian here at CedarCreek.
We pray this bible study richly blesses you as you continue to bring in this New Year. Happy New Year from all of us at CedarCreek Church!

IN THIS WEEK’S STUDY WE WILL LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR “BEST EFFORT” AND “TOTAL COMMITMENT”.

MONDAY — Last Year is Over, Now What?
Big Point: It doesn’t matter what happened to you last year. It’s good that you are here and you recognize that God needs to do some business in your life.

Pastor Tony Evans writes:
“My wife is the leftover queen. Especially back when she used to make huge Sunday meals—big roast, potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese of course, freshly baked bread. We’d come home after church and eat a huge meal. After dinner, she would take everything, put it in a Tupperware dish and put it in the fridge. On Monday, she would take the leftovers out of the fridge and I’d see her slicing, dicing, chopping and mincing. And then she’d sprinkle on some cheese. I’d ask, ‘What are you making?’ She would give the dish some French name and set a delectable meal on the table for us to enjoy. You know what we were eating? They might have been leftovers, but in the hands of a master, they were transformed into a new creation.”
How do you view your life in the hands of the master? Yes, last year is over, now what? Well, for starters we get to look forward to 2012 with a fresh start, a fresh commitment to Christ, and the assurance in knowing that if we rely completely on our master, he will direct us throughout this entire year. That’s exciting. That’s exhilarating. Are you ready to focus? A heavenly prize is awaiting!

READ…What does the Bible say?
Philippians 3:13-14 (New Living Translation)
13No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (New Living Translation)
5Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

THINK…Find the answers
In Philippians 3:13, why would Paul tell his readers to forget the past?

In Proverbs 3:6, why are we told to seek God’s will?

In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul understands clearly that he has a continuing responsibility to pursue the purposes Christ had chosen him for. Regardless of how long you’ve been a Christian, we must still stay committed to following Christ and living for him.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Think about the decisions you’ve made in the last six months of your life—both big decisions and every day choices. Have your decisions and choices honored God or simply satisfied your own needs and wants?

Think about this, if you are going on 75 North and you are trying to reach Florida, do you think you will ever get there? Barb mentioned Andy Stanley’s “Principle of the Path” in her talk this past weekend to illustrate that sometimes there is a disconnect on where you want to go and the path you are taking. Think about your path. Are you willing to change your life goals if they are conflicting with growing in your faith? Why or why not?

Looking at 2012, write down three resolutions you have for the new year:
1.
2.
3.

Tomorrow we will look at the difference between our “BEST EFFORT” and “TOTAL COMMITMENT”. Take a moment and consider what that difference might be and how that affects the resolutions you wrote above.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
As you reflect on 2011, thank God for His blessings, His guidance, His provisions, and His love through last year. Looking at 2012, ask God to help you start this year seeking His will in all you do so that He can direct your path.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: John 1-5
The book of John conclusively proves that Jesus is the eternal Son of God and that all who believe in him will have eternal life. Because Jesus is God he is able to reveal God to us clearly and accurately.
1:1 Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, but he never ceased being the eternal God who has always existed. He is fully man and fully God.
1:10, 11 Although Christ created the world, the people he created didn’t recognize him. The people he chose to prepare the rest of world for the Messiah rejected him, even though the Old Testament pointed to his coming.
1:12, 13 All who welcome Jesus into their lives are reborn, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Jesus this new birth changes us from the inside out, rear-ranging our attitudes, desires and motives.
2:1-3 Weddings in Jesus’ time were week-long festivals and the entire town would be invited, and not to come was an insult. To run out of wine was more than embarrassing, it broke the unwritten laws of hospitality.
3:5, 6 “Of water and the Spirit” may refer to the contrast between physical and spiritual birth. Water may also represent the cleansing action of God’s Holy Spirit.
3:31-35 Jesus’ testimony was trustworthy because he had come from heaven and was speaking of what he had seen there. His words are the words of God.
4:21-24 “God is Spirit” means God is not a physical being limited to one place, He is everywhere and can be worshiped anywhere. It is not where we worship that counts, but how we worship.
5:17 Jesus is identifying himself with God and there can be no doubt of his claim to be God. We cannot believe in God while ignoring God’s Son.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.30.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.30.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: What’s So Holy About Christmas?

FRIDAY — Reflection and Action:
      Did the word “profound” or a word to that magnitude ever jump to mind either during Lee’s weekend message or after reading this LIO bible study as you learned about the relevance, reason and result of Christmas? Perhaps you already know everything about Christmas and you say, “Oh, I’ve heard this message a million times already.” If that is you, we pray your senses never dull to the fullness of Christ and that breath of new mercies that you can receive by fully experiencing the holiness of Christmas. Let’s take a moment to reflect on this experience:

REFLECT…What have you learned this week?
Are you still growing in Christ and you wish to draw closer to him? If that’s you, take the time to review the past few days and outline the top three ways you can grow deeper in your relationship with Christ to create a new way of living in 2012.
1.

2.

3.

Do you consider yourself a mature Christian? Describe how the scriptures that we reviewed over the past few days will help you mature even more in Christ in 2012:

Regardless of where you are at in your walk with Christ, we pray that you fell to your knees in worship of the awe and majesty that our God, our Savior, Christ provided us as a result of his birth. This completely profound and wonderful message can be summarized as easy as A.B.C.— that is you must be willing to:
Admit that He is God.
Believe that He loves you, and
Commit the rest of your life to following His plan.

If you have not made your New Year’s Resolution yet, we suggest you fully adopt the above ABC’s and think of living a more “missional” life. Our January 2012 series is entitled “The Gap Series” where we will learn how to Love, Serve, Give and Tell. It starts with us. We pray that you consider inviting someone to this next series and to consider becoming a Missional Member here at CedarCreek Church. 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 help you take on the challenge of experiencing Him more and living a more missional life in 2012.

Weekend Updates!
• Impact419: Don’t forget to drop off your Impact419 items—final drop off is January 1st.

• Have you fallen in love and want to stay in love forever? Attend the Andy Stanley, Staying In Love 4-week class series that will be held at the Perrysburg and South Toledo campus beginning 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 workbook that you can pick up at The Source bookstore.

• Financial Peace University: You may know by now that one of the top New Year’s resolutions is getting your finances together. One way to kick off the year is to attend the 13-week Financial Peace University classes that begin on Monday, January 23rd at the Whitehouse and West Toledo campus and Wednesday’s beginning January 25th at the Perrysburg and South Toledo Campus. All classes begin at 7pm. The cost for this class is $110.00 and childcare is available for a nominal fee. Register online at cedarcreek.tv under the get connected tab or at any Welcome Center. Hurry, registration cut-off is Friday, January 13th at 12pm.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these resources are also available electronically at 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:
Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Jan Martensen

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Diana Patton
Emily Francis
Rebecka Blevins
Tyler Dunlap

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Malachi 1-4
Malachi is a contemporary of Nehemiah. It is the last book in the Old Testament. God does not speak through a prophet for 400 years. When the prophet Malachi began preaching to the Israelites, he found they had cold hearts. They were indifferent and apathetic. When he confronted them with their sin, they asked a series of questions that reveal volumes about their spiritual condition.
1:2 “In what way have You loved us?” This question reveals a lack of trust in God. The Israelites were implying that God had been unfaithful to His covenant. Do we demand proof of God’s love for us?
1:6-7 “In what way have we despised Your Name? In what way have we defiled Your name?” This question shows the half-heartedness and rationalizations of the nation’s religious leaders. They were saying, in effect: “We’ve been making the required sacrifices. What more do you want?” Malachi points out they used unfit animals. Do we offer God our best in worship, or do we just go through the motions?
3:7 “In what way shall we return?” This question reveals an appalling blindness to sin and an arrogant attempt to gloss over wrongdoing. “We don’t know what You want us to do, because we don’t see what we have done wrong.” When faced with our sin, do we make excuses?
3:8 “In what way have we robbed You?” This question underscores the people’s greed. They did not view their possessions as God’s possessions to be used for His glory. Do we gladly give to God?
3:13 “What have we spoken against You?” This question displays the Israelites callousness. They said it was useless to serve God, but they continued to think that their external observance of religious ceremonies would satisfy God’s demands on their lives. Do we wholeheartedly serve God?

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.29.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.29.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: What’s So Holy About Christmas?

THURSDAY — He will return one day!
Big Point: God came to earth for everyone and everyone will meet God face to face at some point.

       This is the time of year when thoughts of the future fill our minds. We have the opportunity to let go of things we have been holding onto all year—the things we failed at, the things we could have done better, the things that hurt others. We have the opportunity to put it behind us. To start over. To make a new plan. Like Kyle said last week, the gyms in Toledo are going to be busting at the seams come January. It is a great time for change.
        The message this week reminds us of the most important date we have in the future—the day we meet God face to face. We have no idea when that will be but we know for sure that it will happen. And this week we learned that God sent His own son into the fallen world, to be born in a manger, to be fully human, to teach and heal, to suffer, and ultimately, to die for us. All for the purpose of being able to have a real personal relationship with us. So that when we meet God face to face, we may know Him through His son.
        And the thing is—God came to earth for everyone and everyone will have to face God at some point. Every nation, every ethnic group, every language, religion, age…everyone. In Rick Warren’s message he described an international conference he attended in Amsterdam where 11,000 Christian leaders from over 200 nations gathered. One night, they sang a song about Jesus is Lord, each in their own language. He described the moment as “a little tiny speck of what it’s going to be like on that day.”
        We don’t know many things about what will happen in our future, or even this next year. But we do know that some day, this life, this world, will be over. And that all people, everyone who ever lived, will stand before God in judgment. And the Bible states that on that day all people will acknowledge Jesus is Lord.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Philippians 2:9-11 (Good News)
8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death— his death on the cross. For this reason God gave Jesus the name that is greater than any other name …(One day) all beings in heaven, and on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Philippians 2:9-11 carefully. The “reason” according to verse 8 is Jesus’ death on the cross. What position does God give Jesus? Who will openly proclaim Jesus is Lord and how? How do you feel about this?

“You are high and
lifted up, and all the
world will praise
Your great name.”
Song, “Your Great
Name”
Natalie Grant

LIVE…What will you do now?
Can you imagine the moment when we will fall on our knees? In the intro story, Rick Warren described what he thought that day would look like to him. Write a brief description of what you think this moment will look like for you. Does anything in these verses surprise you?

Do you believe that Jesus is Lord of all heaven and earth and everyone in it? Are you in relationship with him now? Is your relationship how you want it to be or is there some way you’d like to change?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Close your eyes and picture that manger scene that is so familiar to us—the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings, animals, angels. All gathered around the infant, the God of heaven and earth. It really happened. Jesus is Lord. Repeat these powerful words to yourself. Jesus is Lord and I will see him one day. Jesus is Lord and I will see him one day!

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is,
and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You!
“Revelation Song”
Phillips, Craig and Dean

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Zechariah 8-14
Zechariah knew how to paint a vivid picture in the minds of his people. He did so because he knew people think in images. The portraits capture our imaginations and make God’s thoughts memorable. Zechariah foretold several images of Christ. Christ is seen as: 1. Servant and Branch (v. 3:8); 2. Priest (v. 6:13); 3. Just and Lowly King (v. 9:9); 4. Shepherd (v. 9:16, 13:7); 5. Firstborn Son (v. 12:10); and, 6. Fountain (v. 13:1).
9:9 This prophecy was fulfilled on the day of the Triumphal Entry (we know it today as Palm Sunday), when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey (Matthew 21:2-7). The donkey was the mount of princes and kings.
11:12-13 “So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.” Zechariah, taking on the role of the messianic shepherd, requested his wages for services rendered. Thirty pieces was the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32) and the price the high priest paid Judas to betray Jesus (Matthew 27:6-10).
13:7 “Sword” an instrument of death, is likened to a warrior being roused for action. The Lord commands the sword to strike the Messiah (My Shepherd), clearly indicating that the death of Jesus was no accident but divinely determined. “My Companion”, a term used elsewhere of one who is a near neighbor or close companion. It suggests a relationship of equality.
14:3-9 The rule of Jesus at his return is described in this passage.
14:4 The Mount of Olives is located east of Jerusalem and the Kidron valley and is a north-south hill about 2700 feet in elevation. Jesus ascended from this hill (Acts 1:10) and on his return it will split in an east-west valley.