Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.29.11

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Series: Not a Fan
This Week: Define the Relationship

“Men do not decide their future. They decide their habits
and their habits decide their future.” -Unknown

Nearly every Hollywood romantic comedy hinges on a dramatic moment when a couple finally must “define the relationship,” popularly abbreviated as “DTR.” Imagine the scene where one lover boards an airplane intending to leave the other forever — only to remain standing on the tarmac as the plane takes off: “I couldn’t leave,” the fellow coos. “We were meant to be together.” In real life, however, endings usually are not quite so predictable — and that’s where “the talk” comes in. In a romantic relationship, the define-the-relationship discussion involves questions such as: Are we “just friends” or more than that? Are we dating exclusively or is our relationship just casual? What exactly is the level of our commitment to each other?

Having this kind of discussion can seem risky because we don’t want to appear pushy and scare off the other person. If you have begun to feel strongly about the individual you are dating, asking if he or she shares your feelings can be a frightening moment of truth. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. It can seem risky to have the “define-therelationship” or “DTR” discussion with Christ. Things may be going smoothly and church is kind of fun, but what does your relationship with Jesus look like?

Imagine sitting across the table from Jesus when he looks you in the eye and says, “It’s time to define this relationship.” He wants to know how you feel about him. Is your relationship with Jesus exclusive? Is it just a casual weekend thing or has it moved past that? How would your relationship with him be defined? What exactly is your level of commitment?

This past weekend Kyle talked about the difference between being a fan and a follower. The difference between being “an enthusiastic admirer” or being completely committed to following Jesus Christ. Jesus isn’t looking for admirers. He isn’t interested in fans. He wants followers.

In this week’s Living It Out Bible Study we will dive deeper into these concepts and ask you to truly think about whether you are a fan or a follower of Jesus, and what that means for your life and, ultimately, your death. Be honest with yourself. Think about this quote when it comes to our discussion of fans versus followers: “Men do not decide their future. They decide their habits and their habits decide their future,” What do your habits mean for your future? There are certain behaviors, beliefs and actions that define a “fan” of Jesus and behaviors, beliefs and actions that define a “follower” of Jesus. It’s time to DTR!

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE IN BEING A FAN OF JESUS OR A FULLY-COMMITTED FOLLOWER.

MONDAY — D.T.R. Time: Are you a follower of Jesus?
Big Point:
We gloss over this question without truly considering what it means.

From Kyle Idleman’s book, Not a Fan: “Are you a follower of Jesus? Chances are pretty good that you just skipped over that question. You may have read it, but I doubt it carried much weight or had any real impact. Because it’s so familiar there is a tendency to dismiss it. Not because it makes you comfortable. Not because it’s especially convicting. The question is dismissed mostly because it feels redundant and unnecessary.”

Interesting quote from legendary singer, Bob Dylan: “Jesus tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Bob, why are you resisting me?’ I said, ‘I’m not resisting you!’ He said, ‘You gonna follow me?’ I said, ‘I’ve never thought about that before!’ He said, ‘When you’re not following me, you’re resisting me.’” –Bob Dylan

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 7:13-14 (New International Version)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version)
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Matthew 7:21-23 is one of the most sobering passages of Scripture. It tells of a day when many who consider themselves to be followers of Jesus will be stunned to find out that He doesn’t even recognize them. On that day many who call themselves Christians and identify themselves as followers will stand confidently in front of Jesus only to hear Him say, “I never knew you. Away from me.”

THINK…Find the answers
Matthew 7:13 refers to two gates—a narrow one and a wide one. Where does the narrow gate lead to?

Where does the wide gate lead? Why is it so difficult for people to get through the narrow gate?

Read Matthew 7:21-23. Why will God turn some people away from heaven?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Are you a follower of Jesus?
When answering this question, Kyle Idleman puts his readers into two groups— The “Jesus fish on the back of my car” group and the “Why is there a fish on the back of my friend’s car?” group. People in the first group are serious about their Christian faith but are so sure of their answer they quickly dismiss it. People in the second group consider the question irrelevant to them. It’s irrelevant to them in a different way than the people in group number one. It’s that the question doesn’t seem worth answering. They mean no offense, but they don’t follow Jesus.

Which group do you fit into? Why?

If you fit into the first group—The “Jesus fish on the back of my car” group—how seriously do you take this question? What do you use in evaluating whether you’re a follower of Jesus?

If you fit into the second group—the “Why is there a fish on the back of my friend’s car?” group—ask yourself this: What if? Pause for a moment and ask yourself, What if all of life comes down to this one question? What if there really is a heaven and hell, and where I spend my eternity comes down to this one question? Write any thoughts below.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
When praying today, ask God to help you to seriously consider and answer the question: Are you a follower of Jesus?

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Numbers 9-12
9:1 The first Passover was the year before when the Israelites left Egypt.
9:6-12 Notice how God didn’t change or lower His standards, but He did create an opportunity for them to participate at a later date. There are times when we think it’s okay to compromise God’s standards, but through wisdom and prayer, God will always reveal an alternative solution that enables us to honor Him. 9:14 It’s tempting to play down our faith when we have guests in our home, but we shouldn’t. Christ-followers live out their faith at all times, fans do not.
9:15-23 The cloud and fire were not natural phenomenon. They were the vehicle of God’s presence and evidence of his moving and directing His people.
10:1-10 The trumpets were an effective way of communicating with the tribes of millions of people. Even though the Israelites moved frequently, their stability came from the fact that God was with them each time they changed locations. 11:21-22 While Moses witnessed God’s power firsthand, he still questioned God’s ability to feed the Israelites. When we rely on our own understanding rather than trusting in God, we become short-sided and crippled in our faith.
11:23 “Has my arm lost its power?” How strong do you think God is? God’s strength never changes and is always available—we just have to live like it is!
11:34 Craving or lusting is more than an inappropriate desire. It draws our heart away from God. That’s why Jesus calls us to live out Luke 9:23 for our sakes.
12:9-15 Aaron and Miriam acted foolishly and then begged not to be punished for their sin. It’s hard to recognize our plans as foolish as we are carrying them out. In order to get rid of foolish ideas before we act on them requires that we must eliminate our wrong thoughts and wrong beliefs.


Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.26.11

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FRIDAY — New Five-Week Series: Not a Fan

Are you a follower of Jesus? Don’t answer too quickly.

In fact, before you answer this question, you may want to tune into our new series, Not a Fan, based on the book by Kyle Idleman.

Consider it a “Define the Relationship” conversation to determine exactly where you stand. You may indeed be a passionate, fully devoted follower of Jesus. Or, you may be just a fan who admires Jesus but isn’t ready to let him cramp your style. Then again, maybe you’re not into Jesus, period.

In any case, don’t take the question—Are you a follower of Jesus?—lightly.

Some people don’t know what they’ve said “yes” to and other people don’t realize what they’ve said “no” to. But Jesus is ready to clearly define the relationship he wants with his followers.

Consider purchasing and reading Idleman’s book as part of experiencing this new series. He calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple. With frankness sprinkled with humor, Idleman invites you to live the way Jesus lived, love the way he loved, pray the way he prayed, and never give up living for the One who gave his all for you.

Are you fan or follower?

1. Do you go to church?
2. Are your parents or grandparents Christians?
3. Did you repeat a prayer after a preacher?
4. Do you own three or more Bibles?
5. Did you grow up going to VBS and/or church camp?
6. Is your cellphone ringtone a worship song?
7. Have you ever worn “witness wear?”
8. Do you understand phrases like “traveling mercies” and “sword drill”?

Many of us are quick to say “yes” to being a follower of Jesus without really, truly understanding what it means. In this series, together we will find out.

Homepointe Family Activity

Big Point: God wants us to love Him and love each other. Read: Acts 2:41, 46-47 depict those the activities of the early Christians: baptism, worshipping together, sharing meals, praising God and praying together.
Activity: This week’s lesson is a wonderful opportunity to bring the children together with the adults in the group in order to model each activity in Acts 2:41, 46- 47 during the group lesson (as much as possible.)
1. If you don’t already do so, ask each family to bring a dish for a shared meal. On your group night, make sure to get the children involved in the preparation and serving of the meal.
2. Once everyone has eaten, turn on a favorite worship CD (or you can use an online station like Pandora.com). Group members don’t have sing (but they can!). However, the group should have an opportunity to worship together through singing as well as sharing stories about how God has been working in their lives.
3. Ask everyone in the group if they have placed their faith in Christ. For all of those who have, inquire about whether or not they have been baptized—and as a group, consider hosting a baptism party for those who decide to get baptized. (For those who have not accepted Christ, take time to share the gospel message and find out if they are ready to place their faith in Christ.)
4. Encourage group members to share favorite memories of group experiences— both good and bad.

Prayer: Your group time should conclude with a time of prayer. Everyone in the group should participate—both adults and children. Each individual should be encouraged to pray for someone else in the group, even if it is a simple and short prayer— that’s okay! The most important thing is that the group is praying together.

Living It Out: Scripture Memory August 2011
Ephesians 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things
we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
10 For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the
good things he planned for us long ago.

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 barbr@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:

Daily Bible Commentary Compiled by Jamey Koralewski

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

Weekend Updates — Check out the ATC for more details!
Happy Hour Connecting event—This weekend at all CedarCreek Campuses after each weekend service you can get connected to a Life Group.
Life Support Kickoff on Tuesday, September 6! Is it time to get your life back on track? Life Support is a ministry for those who are dealing with hurts, habits or hangups. Fall kickoff at ALL CedarCreek Campuses. Perrysburg Campus begins at 6:30pm—West Toledo and Whitehouse Campuses begin at 7pm.
Financial Peace University—Over one million people have discovered what it means to beat debt and build wealth through applying Biblical principles taught by best-selling author, Dave Ramsey. Registration deadline is August 31. Cost is $110 per person/married couple. Check out CedarCreek.tv for more information.
The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating—Are you single? Join us for a four-week seminar hosted at ALL CedarCreek Campuses beginning Thursday, September 8. Check out CedarCreek.tv for more information.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Numbers 5-8
Ch5: Defilement of the camp. The purity of the church must be as carefully guarded as the order of it and it is for the edification of it that those who are openly and incorrigibly vicious should be cut off from communion until they repent. Striking Facts: All wives should learn from the “jealousy offering” to guard against giving any occasion for suspicions of their chastity—to abstain from all appearance of evil. Husbands should learn not to entertain causeless or unjust suspicions of their wives.
Ch6: The Nazarite laws. The Christian should be a true Nazarite, fully consecrated to God and separated from the things of this world, thus securing the special blessing of God. Striking Facts: The Nazarite type found a perfect fulfillment in Jesus who was “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26) and allowed no mere natural claims to divert Him.
Ch7: The gifts of the princes. The great men should with their wealth and power uphold the work of God and should make conscience of being devout because of their great influence. Striking Facts: Observe that the offerings of the princes were identical, yet each is separately recorded by the pen of inspiration, showing how God takes notice of every whole-hearted gift. Mark 12:41-44.
Ch8 Cleansing of the Levites for the ministry of the tabernacle. All Christians, and especially ministers, should cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. Those who bear the vessels of the Lord must be clean. Striking Facts: It is a great kindness to the Church that God has appointed overseers to go before the people in the things of God and religious worship. When Christ ascended, He supplied the gifts for His work (Eph 4:8-12).

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.25.11

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THURSDAY — Can you live out your faith on your own?

Big Point: For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Mathew 18:20

Unfortunately, there are some Christians who believe they can live out the Christian life on their own. However, according to the scriptures, Lone Ranger Christians are not living out their faith in a way God intends for them to live. Listen to Pastor Tony Evans talk about the importance of being associated with a body of believers:

“No, you don’t have to go to church to be saved. Yes, you can worship God in your heart. But you do need the church to keep you on track. You do need the church to hold you accountable. You do need the church to remind you of your responsibility. You do need the church to care for you during the disasters of your life. You do need the church to encourage you as you keep walking down the right way. You don’t need the church to be saved but you need it to make sure you’re living like you’re saved.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New Living Translation)
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triplebraided cord is not easily broken.

Proverbs 27:17 (New Living Translation) 17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Acts 2:46-47 (New Living Translation)
46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

THINK…Find the answers
According to Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron as a _______ sharpens a _______. In the context of how Christians are supposed to interact with each other, what does this verse mean?

Read Ecclesiastes 4:19. This verse explains why it is hazardous for Christ-followers to neglect being involved in significant Christian community. What can happen when there are two instead of one working together to handle life’s challenges?

In Acts 2:46-47, what were all of the things the believers spent time doing together? What happened as a result of daily fellowship?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Life is easier when you have another Christian friend or community by your side. You need people that are encouraging you when on a bad day or when you going through a tough trial. It is so important to have community of believers that you can walk through life with celebrating the good times and struggles alike.

What is the difference between having a non-Christian friend giving you advice about an important decision in your life and getting advice from someone who is a Christ-follower?

Can you think of a time that Christians around you helped you or encouraged you in your faith?

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do?
If you aren’t in regular Christian community that challenges you to grow in your faith, pray and ask God to open up opportunities for you to find such a community

Lose the loner life!Get Connected!
Did you know that people who are unconnected at church are more likely to stop going to church?

Let us help! This weekend, we will be hosting a Happy Hour Connecting Event at ALL CedarCreek campuses after each weekend service.

In what areas in your life would it be most important for your to have another Christ-follower to give you wise counsel:
Marriage ____ Dating ____ Parenting ____ Job ____ Trials ____

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Numbers 1-4
Ch1: Moses was commanded to take census. The Lord knows all those that are His (2 Timothy 2:19) by name (Philippians 4:3) and even the hairs of their heads are numbered. To all others He will say “I never knew you.” Striking Facts: None under 20 years old were listed for military service. In compassion for their tender years God would not have them to bear arms. Nor were any to be numbered who were through any bodily infirmity, rendered unfit for war.
Ch2: Order of the host and arrangement of the camp. God is a God of order and not confusion, thus the camp of the saints should be compact, everyone knowing and keeping his God appointed place. Striking Facts: The chapter furnishes an illustration of the movable state of Christ’s people in the world, “strangers and pilgrims.” At the same time it is a military state—our life is a warfare, as “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.”
Ch3: Order of the host; placing of the Levites. Having gifts differing according to the Grace given us—if ministry, let us wait on our ministering (Romans 12:7). God has a place of definite service for each of His children. Striking Facts: The Church is called “the church of the firstborn” which is redeemed not as the firstborn of the Israelites, with silver and gold, but ransomed with the precious blood of Christ.
Ch4: The service of the Kohathrites, Gershonites and Merarites. There is a service appointed to each of God’s people in connection with His Church, and no matter how obscure the place it is important in God’s program. Striking Facts: (v3) They were not employed until 30 years old. This is not obligatory on Gospel ministers, but gives us a suggestion that ministers should not be novices but should be men of steadiness, and ripeness of judgment, knowing Christ well.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.24.11

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Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Be on Good Terms with God

WEDNESDAY– Take me to the water! Today’s Big Point: Once we come to faith in Christ, we must be baptized!

Depending on your background, you could have one of many different views about baptism. Maybe your parents baptized you during your infancy to ensure you would go to heaven in case the worst should happen. Some of you were baptized during your pre-teen or early teen years as a rite of passage enabling you to become part of the church. Still, there is one more group of people that you might belong to…the group that has never experienced baptism of any sort. Have you ever wondered if you’ve missed out on anything? Baptism is the public expression of a believer’s faith. At CedarCreek, we like to say that baptism is a way of “going public” with a believer’s new life in Christ. It is an important step of discipleship that is intended to be shared and celebrated with other Christ-followers.

READ…What does the Bible say? Mark 1:9-10 (NLT)
9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.

Acts 2:41 (NLT)
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

We must understand the close connection in the minds of the apostles between saving faith and baptism. The idea of an unbaptized Christian is foreign to the apostles because they assumed that every true believer would be an obedient believer.

THINK…Find the answers
What example does Jesus’ getting baptized set for us?

Read Acts 2:41. Why is it important for us to understand the New Testament pattern of “belief-then-baptism”? If we understand what baptism means for the believer, then why would getting baptized before coming to faith in Christ be ineffective?

LIVE…What will you do now?
There are a lot of people who are planning to get baptized, but are delaying it for one reason or another. If Christ commands us to do something, are there any legitimate reasons for failing to immediately act on his commands?

By the way, our next Baptism service is THIS SUNDAY, August 28 at 6pm at CedarCreek’s Whitehouse Campus. Arrive at 3:30pm in dark shorts, dark teeshirt, towel and flip flops (bring an extra change of clothes!) and we’ll give you instructions about the baptism service.

“I am having trouble explaining my desire to be baptized to my parents…”
If you were baptized as an infant in a Christian church, you ought to thank your parents for bringing you up in a Christian tradition. If anything ought to bring joy to the hearts of parents, it should be their child saying, “Mom and Dad, I have come to know the Lord as my personal Savior and now, having found the Lord as my Savior, I need to proclaim my new faith by being baptized as a believer, just as the Bible teaches. I want you to come and celebrate with me to see that what you started many years ago has now grown to maturity.”

So, if you were baptized before you came to faith in Christ, you really were “dedicated to the Lord,” not baptized in the Biblical sense. You need to do what the Bible says—once the Gospel has come to you and you have found Jesus Christ as Savior, you need to be baptized “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

If you say you are a Christ-follower and have yet to be baptized, are you ready to comply with Christ’s command to be baptized at the next opportunity?     Y        N

Please list any reasons that you may have for putting off baptism:

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, it is God’s plan for you to be baptized. The only issue is whether or not you will be obedient and get baptized. If you are struggling, take some time to pray and ask for help.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Lamentations 1-5
Ch1 Jerusalem was lonely, its people mourning (v2), forsaken by formerly friendly nations (v2), in captivity (v3), uprooted from their land (v3), their temple violated (v10). The multitude of sins (vv5,8) had brought this judgment from the righteous God (v18).
Ch2 Much in this chapter depicts God’s judgment in vivid portrayals. He covered the Judeans with a cloud (v1), withdrew His hand of protection (v3), bent His bow and had slain with His arrows (v4), and stretched out a surveyor’s line to mark walls to be destroyed (v8). He will work a rebuilding of Jerusalem in the future kingdom (Zechariah 2:1-13). In all sore providences, it is well to reflect that God’s fulfilled His Word, for there’ll be found a perfect agreement between the judgments of God’s hand and those threatened by His Word upon the unrepentant.
3:1-20 Jeremiah’s distress in such tragedy comes from God, referred to as “He” throughout this section. Even the righteous experience “the rod of His wrath.”
3:21-33 The relentless sorrow over Judah’s judgment drove Jeremiah to consider God’s grace, mercy, and compassion. His tone then changed dramatically.
3:33-47 God had a basis for judgment.
Ch4 Sins of the leaders were acknowledged. Nothing ripens a people more for ruin, nor fills the measure faster, than the sins of the priests and prophets (v13), by which they are led blindly away from God and into His judgments.
Ch5 Our woes are due to our own sin and folly, and God is therefore righteous in it. Without “fighting” God, we can plead with Him and hope for mercy even when He seems to have utterly forsaken us.
5:21-22 This plea wasn’t made in anger. The humble closing prayer sought God, who can never reject His people forever, to be faithful in restoring them. In fact, their godly sorrow over sin was the beginning of that restoration, which would be completed by turning to God in faith and obedience.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.23.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.23.11.

Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Be on Good Terms with God

TUESDAY– Conviction & Repentance
Today’s Big Point
: We’ve got to confront our sinful nature and turn away from it in order to truly turn to God.

There are a lot of teachings out there that preach a “feel-good” gospel where Jesus’ love and forgiveness are highlighted in neon lights. Proponents of the “feelgood” gospel focus non-believers on the free gift of forgiveness and a bright-andshiny heaven. But, what about sin? At what point do we own up to the sin in our lives? Until there is conviction of sin, a person feels no need for a Savior. What is there to be saved from? Before God’s Holy Spirit brings conviction, the sinner thinks, “I’m a pretty decent person. I live a good moral life.” He compares himself with murderers, rapists, child molesters, and the like, and thinks that things must be okay between him and God. But when the Holy Spirit begins to convict the person about sin, righteousness, and judgment, the person begins to see that God will judge not only outward actions, but also every evil thought and every careless word. He judges everyone, not based on a curve of human goodness, but by the perfection of His own holiness.

In Acts 2:38, Peter is not being technical about the sequence of salvation, but rather is viewing repentance and baptism as a package, with baptism being the fruit of repentance. You receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit at the point of repentance. Baptism should follow soon after repentance and faith in obedience to Christ as Lord.

READ…
What does the Bible say? Acts 2:37 (New Living Translation)
37 Peter’s words pierced their (the crowd) hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

 Acts 2:38 (Good News Translation)
38 Peter said to them, Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.

THINK…Find the answers
In Acts 2:37, Peter is preaching to a crowd of people and sharing the gospel message with them. Once the crowd listened to Peter, they were convicted of their sin. Then, what did they want Peter to tell them?

Acts 2:38 is Peter’s response to the crowd, who were ready to accept Christ for themselves. This verse is often misinterpreted. What are the instructions Peter gave the crowd?

LIVE…What will you do now?
There should be a point in life when you realize the sinful condition of your heart, especially when you realize how holy and perfect God is. That point of realization is known as conviction and it is usually after that point that a person is ready to accept God’s forgiveness for his or her sin. Has this happened for you? If so, how did it happen?

 Four elements of repentance:
1. Repentance is not optional for salvation.
2. Repentance means turning from a life of sin to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
3. Repentance requires seeing how Jesus is.
4. Repentance requires being convicted of how terrible our sins are in God’s sight.

Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. The thought that a person could knowingly hang onto his sins with one hand while he receives the gift of salvation from a holy God with the other is inconceivable! (adapted from Charles Spurgeon)

Once we are convicted of our sinful condition, we are called to repent or turn away from our sins and turn to God. Repentance occurs at the time when we first place our faith in Christ, but we are also called to turn away from the sin that tries to invade our lives each day.

Once we come to faith in Christ, there will be other times when we should experience conviction of sinful patterns or behaviors. How can you know when you are being convicted of sin in your life?

What do you sense that God is calling you to repent or turn away from?

PRAY…God, what do You want me to know & do? Today’s topic might have been pretty weighty— especially if you are experiencing conviction right now. If so, it is so important that you take time to confess your sin today—acknowledge that you’ve sinned—and then ask God for forgiveness.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Ecclesiastes 11-12
11:2
Be generous while there’s plenty, and make friends while time remains, because one never knows when he might need them to return the favor.
11:7-12:8 Solomon crystallizes the book’s message. Death is imminent and with it comes retribution. Enjoyment and judgment, though strange partners, come together in this section because both clamor for man’s deepest commitment. Surprisingly, one does not win out over the other. In a world created for enjoyment but damaged by sin, judgment and enjoyment/pleasure are held in tension. With too much pleasure, judgment stands as a threatening force; with too much judgment, enjoyment suffers. In the final analysis, both are prominent themes of life that are resolved in our relationship to God, the primary issue of life and this book.
11:3-6 The world is full of things we’ve no control over—including God’s purposes.
11:9 “Rejoice…judgment.” The two terms seem to cancel out each other. How can this be explained? Enjoy life but don’t commit iniquity. The balance that’s called for insures that enjoyment isn’t reckless, sinful abandonment. Pleasure is experienced in faith and obedience, for as Solomon has said repeatedly, one can only receive true satisfaction as a gift from God.
12:13-14 Solomon’s final word on the issues raised in this book, as well as life itself, focus on one’s relationship to God. All of the concern for a life under the sun, with its pleasures and uncertainties, was behind Solomon. Such things seemed comparatively irrelevant to him as he faced the end of his life. But death, in spite of the focused attention he’d given it, was not the greatest equalizer. Judgment/ retribution is the real equalizer as Solomon saw it, for God will bring every person’s act to judgment. Unbelievers will stand at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15) and believers before Christ at the Bema judgment (1Co 3:10-15; 2Co 5:9-10). When all is said and done, the certainty and finality of retribution give life the meaning for which David’s oft-times foolish son had been searching.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.22.11

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Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Be on Good Terms with God

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna reverse this tragedy
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life ALIVE!
“Mess of Me” – Switchfoot

Doing good things is a good thing. We all feel good when we do good. Hey, don’t you feel good when you do good? Well…good! But, doing good for goodness sake does not mean we are good with God. “What?” you say. Ah yes, we can hear some of you now: “What do you mean, I just spent time filling a backpack of school supplies for the back to school drive. I went grocery shopping and filled a brown paper bag full of groceries for Vision Kitchen and other needy food pantries, and I am working on raising money to go on a missions trip—you mean to tell me all of that does not help me get on good terms with God?”

 Let’s be clear, everything you do that glorifies God and that you do for others, Christ says in Matthew 25:40, you do for Him. However, there are a ton of people who do a ton of good glorious things but they have not wholly and completely surrendered their lives to God. That’s the trap we can easily and quickly fall into when we fail to surrender. The quest to being on good terms with God is so difficult for our human minds to conceptualize. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” When God says he planted eternity in the human heart, that means that we can never be completely satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits. Because we are created in God’s image, (1) we have a spiritual thirst, (2) we have eternal value, and (3) nothing but the eternal God can truly satisfy us. He has built in us a restless yearning for the kind of perfect world that can only be found in His perfect rule.

So you see how we can fall into the “good deed trap”. Oh yes, we desire to do good; our hearts are set on what God desires for his people. And that is a beautiful and wonderful place to be. But if we don’t satisfy that unbelievable thirst with our living, breathing God, His abundant and filling scriptures and the Holy Spirit by being born again—we will always fall short. We will make a mess out of our lives. And often times, we’ll find ourselves spinning out of control going from one good deed to the next. A lot of us who attend church weekly, day in and day out can feel unfulfilled and lost; like our lives are a main stage massive train wreck when we lose sight of God’s simple message.

We learned this past Sunday that a lot of us desire to be on good terms with God before we die. And the majority of us who attend CedarCreek church are either exploring Christianity or growing in our faith. This means that a lot of us are just now learning that we must be born again, have conviction, repent, have faith, be baptized, study the Bible and pray with one another. At the end of the day, God wants us to do good works and good deeds and surrender our lives to him, wholly and completely! Let this be the week we quench that unending thirst that a lot of us have in our heart. Dig deep into this study. It will bless you and give you that peace that so many of us desire.

 THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL FOCUS ON CONVICTION, REPENTANCE, BAPTISM AND CHRIST-CENTERED COMMUNITY.

MONDAY— You Must be Born Again
Today’s Big Point: To go from death to life in Christ, not only must we believe that God exists, but we must commit to growing closer to Him daily.

If you’ve been around CedarCreek Church long enough, you’ve probably noticed that we take the word of God literally by holding on to every word and letting it be a light that guides our every move. We don’t just like to talk the talk, we like to walk the walk. One way to learn whether we all are living out the gospel is to gauge where we all are spiritually and how we are growing in our faith. Review the follow statements and determine which you identify with most:
1. Exploring Christianity: “I believe in God, but I am not sure about Christ. My faith is not a significant part of my life.”
2. Growing in our faith: “I believe in Jesus and am working on what it means to get to know him.”
3. Close to Christ: “I feel really close to Christ and depend on him daily for guidance.”
4. Christ Centered: “My relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life It guides everything I do.”

Earlier this year, 55% of identified with exploring and growing. While it is truly wonderful that we believe in God, we must work to grow closer to him to experience the true blessings of eternal life and become Christ centered.

 Can you imagine allowing Christ to guide EVERYTHING that you do … everything? This is the rebirth that Christ talks about. We know that the wages of sin is death but when we daily lay our lives down by proclaiming Christ as the center of our lives we receive eternal life.

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 3:3 (New Living Translation)

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

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.

THINK…Find the answers.
In John 3:3, what does God say we must do in order to see the Kingdom of God.

What happens when we sin? So what do we have to repay in order to get eternal life through Christ Jesus as described in Romans 6:23.

LIVE…What will you do now?
At the top of the page, you identified where you are spiritually. The movement quadrants on the next page indicate how you can move from one phase of spiritual growth to another if you exercise the spiritual behaviors indicated. Take a moment to review the chart and circle the what you need to work on in order to move from where you are currently at spiritually toward the next level.

Exploring ———> Growing ———> Close to Christ———>Christ Centered

Movement 1

Reflection on
Scripture
Rare to frequent

Bible Reading
Rare to frequent

Prayer to Seek
Guidance
Occasional to frequent

Prayer to Confess
Sins
Occasional to frequent

Movement 2

Reflection on Scripture
Frequent

Prayer to Seek
Guidance
Frequent to daily

Tithing
I currently give 10 percent
or beyond to the church.

Solitude
Occasional to frequent

Bible Reading
Frequent

Movement 3

Reflection on
Scripture
Frequent to daily

Solitude
Frequent to daily

Bible Reading
Frequent to daily

Prayer to Confess
Sins
Daily

Tithing

Prayer to Seek
Guidance
Daily

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you grow your faith and to understand what it means to be born again in Him!

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Ecclesiastes 9-10
9:1
There will be no inequities in the final judgment of the righteous or the wicked, because God remembers both in perfect detail.
9:2-3 Death because of universal depravity.
9:11 “time and chance.” Wisdom can’t guarantee good outcomes because of what appear to be so many unpredictable contingencies.
9:12 “his time.” The time of his misfortune, especially death.
9:13-15 Wisdom may not receive its due in this life.
9:16 This is true because he lacks status and position.
10:2 “right…left.” This proverb is based on the fact that, commonly, the right hand is more skilled than the left.
10:3 “fool.” Not one who is mentally deficient, but one who is morally bankrupt. It’s not that he can’t learn wisdom, but that he won’t. He refuses to know, fear, and obey God. “walks.” A person lacking wisdom will manifest that in daily conduct.
10:5 It’s a great and far-reaching evil when leaders make bad judgments.
10:6-7 Life presents some strange ironies and is not, in this world, always fair.
10:810 Dangers and uncertainties abound in life.
10:10 A little wisdom will ease the efforts of life. Even though life’s experiences often don’t turn out the way one would’ve hoped, wise living usually produces a good outcome. This is a very important conclusion for Solomon’s testing of wisdom.
10:12-14 “words.” Man demonstrates wisdom in words as well as works. Foolish words yield unfavorable outcomes.
10:15 A proverb for ignorance with regard to the most ordinary matters, which extends even to spiritual realities. If a fool can’t find a town, how could he possibly locate God?

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.19.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.19.11.

FRIDAY- Be like God…Forgive!
Big Point: Jesus paved the way for us by paying for our sins—showing us the ultimate forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is the rebirth of hope, a reorganization of thought, and a reconstruction of dreams. Once forgiving begins, dreams can be rebuilt. When forgiving is complete, meaning has been extracted from the worst of experiences and used to create a new set of moral rules and a new interpretation of life’s events.”
-Lewis Smedes

Definition of Forgiveness:
“You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and have the power to wish them well.”
—Lewis Smedes

We as humans sin daily, some days more than others. When we do this we hurt God. However, God’s love for us is so powerful He forgives us time and time again. He sets the example and it is up to us to follow in his footsteps. God does not want us to be tied down with feelings of anger, hate, and resentment. He wants us to choose to forgive and ask for forgiveness and live free of the pain. Holding a grudge only keeps us trapped in the darkness, but when we forgive or are forgiven the weight is lifted and God grants us inner peace.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Job 2:5 (Good News Translation)
“To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.”

Psalm 65:3 (New Living Translation)
“Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.”

LIVE…What will you do now?
Look at the definition of forgiveness. You’ve been challenged to deal with unforgiveness in your life. Keeping this definition in mind, can you think about someone you’ve forgiven in the past so that you can now think of him or her without anger and wish them well?

Think about the people that you have to forgive. How will you know when you’ve forgiven them?

Yesterday, you were challenged to ask for forgiveness from someone you have wronged. How are you going to communicate with them (phone, letter, face to face)? Are you ready to take the next step?

PRAY…God what do you want me to know & do?
Forgiveness of ourselves and others is a very difficult thing to do, and now more than ever should be a time to rely on God to help you through it. Pray for the strength to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Thank God as well for forgiving you time and time again. Ask God to help you persevere because the end result is so rewarding.

HOMEPOINTE FAMILY ACTIVITY
Big Point: We all make mistakes and so it is important for us to acknowledge when we hurt others and apologize to them.

Lesson: One of the best things we can do for our children is help them to take responsibility for the hurts they cause. Also, we want children to be able to learn from their mistakes and figure out what they will do differently next time.
One way to achieve this goal is to have children apologize using three complete sentences:
• The first sentence should describe what the child did or said that was wrong.
• The second sentence explains why it was wrong.
• The third sentence asks for forgiveness.
An example would be, “I said words to you that were mean and unkind. It was wrong because I hurt your feelings. Will you forgive me?” Using the guideline of three sentences will help children think and express themselves better. This approach is much more effective than a muttered, “I’m sorry.”

Activity: Children AND adults should practice making apologies to each other using the method described above. The children will be inspired if they see the adults participating in this activity.

Prayer: Dear God, I am going to hurt others—even when I don’t mean to. Please help me to always remember to apologize quickly when I am wrong or unkind. Amen.

Adapted with permission from Susan Nichter, LSW, of Greenfield, IN.

Living It Out: Scripture Memory August 2011
Ephesians 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things
we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
10 For we are God’s masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the
good things he planned for us long ago.

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 barbr@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:

Daily Bible Commentary Compiled by Lauri White

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Stephanie Coil
Mallory Stock-Dow
Barb Roose

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ecclesiastes 7-8
Ecclesiastes 7: This seems to contradict Solomon’s previous advice to eat, drink and find satisfaction in one’s work – to enjoy what God has given. Adversity reminds us that life is short. It teaches us to live wisely, and refines our character. Solomon encourages us to think about death, not morbidly but in a way that helps us realize that we must examine the direction of our lives regularly and adjust our course if necessary. God allows both good times and bad times to come to everyone. Solomon, the wisest man in the world, confesses how difficult it is to live wisely. He says no matter how much we think we know: some mysteries will never be understood.
Ecclesiastes 8: Wisdom is the ability to see life from God’s perspective and then to know the best course of action to take. Proverbs teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom comes from knowing and trusting God. Solomon recommends the remedy for life’s unanswered questions: joy and contentment. No one can fully comprehend God and all that He has done, but the unknown should not cast a shadow over our joy, faith, or work because we know that Someone greater is in control and that we can put our trust in Him.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.18.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.18.11.

THURSDAY — When it is your fault…
Big Point: Chances are, someone is waiting for you to ask forgiveness…

One man’s story: Tim Crabtree spent almost 40 years abusing alcohol and drugs. At one point his family had disowned him. Tim eventually hit rock bottom and began attending Life Support. There, Tim embraced the forgiveness that God offered. Once he experienced God’s forgiveness, Tim was able to approach his family and ask for forgiveness.

Study from Journal of Adult Development:
-75% of those surveyed believe that God has forgiven them for all that they’ve done wrong.
-Only 50% said they had forgiven others.
Only 43% have gone back to ask forgiveness from those whom they’ve wronged.

It’s one thing for us to talk about forgiving others, but the conversation tends to come to a halt when we are confronted with being the offender. We can’t picture ourselves inflicting the kind of hurt and pain that has been inflicted upon us at one point or another—we’re just not that bad (or so we like to tell ourselves!)

But we are. Stop fooling yourself into thinking that you couldn’t possibly hurt someone else as much as you’ve been hurt—you can and you have. Coming to terms with that truth is quite possibly the most important thing you can do for yourself today.

Now, the purpose of absorbing that truth isn’t so you can retreat into the corner of shame. In fact, retreating is exactly the wrong thing to do! What should you do?

Here are some practical steps:
Step One: Make a list of whom you have harmed and what you have done.
Step Two: Ask forgiveness from those you’ve hurt. (Note: It may not be possible to speak directly to the person that you’ve hurt. However, a letter might be appropriate—but, have another Christ-follower read it before you send it.)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 12:18 (New Living Translation)
18Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Matthew 5:23-24 (New Living Translation)
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Romans 12:18. What does it mean to “live in peace” with everyone?

Notice how Romans 12:18 starts with “do all that YOU can.” What are the expectations and limitations outlined in this verse?

In Matthew 5:23-24, believers are instructed to postpone worshiping God until they do business with those they have offended. Why did Jesus give those instructions?

LIVE…What will you do now?
From whom do need to ask forgiveness from right now? It doesn’t matter if they also owe you an apology; you have to be humble enough to own up to your wrongdoing. Make a list and note what you’ve done to hurt or offend others:

Are you ready to admit wrongdoing and do regret what you have done? Y N
If not, why? (Do you have biblical support for your reason?)

Ready, set, action! It’s time for you to take action and seek forgiveness from those you have hurt. Use the space below to write out what you should say to one of the people on your list.

I am going to take action and ask forgiveness from __________________.

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
It’s a big step to realize that you need to take action and seek forgiveness from someone you’ve hurt. There are probably a lot of emotions, such as relief, fear and anxiety. This is a great time to talk with God about your impending action step and ask Him to be a part of your efforts to re-establish peace and bring about healing.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ecclesiastes 5-6
Ecclesiastes 5: When we enter the house of God we should have the attitude of being open and ready to listen to God, not to dictate to him what we think He should do. Solomon warns readers about making foolish promises to God. He also warns against depending on money and acquisitions for happiness. You will never have enough, if “more” is your goal. God wants us to view what we have as a gift from Him, and focus more on the Giver than on the gifts.
Ecclesiastes 6: This person has died without being able to enjoy his wealth and honor. Everyone dies, and both rich and poor end up in the grave. God knows and directs everything that happens, and He is in complete control over our lives, even though many times it may not seem that way. We cannot predict what the future holds. In all our plans we should look up to God, not just ahead to the future.