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.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.28.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.28.11.

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

WEDNESDAY—Accept His Gift—A Relationship!
Big Point: The result of Christmas is that we get to know God personally by simply accepting His gift to us.

        As children we could hardly wait for Christmas day to arrive so that we could find out if we received the gifts we asked for. As we grew older and more mature we begin to realize that Christmas gifts, while wonderful when first received, are many times impractical, impersonal and will either run out or wear out and never really live up to the great expectations we so many times have.
         The good news is that Christmas is not about the gifts we receive or the gifts we give but is about the gift that God so lovingly gave to us. Rick Warren presents four main features of God’s gift to us.
         1. God’s gift is personal. It is custom made to you. It is the most personal gift you will ever receive.
         2. It is practical. This is the most practical gift you’ll ever get. You need this gift that God has to offer you.
         3. It is priceless. Jesus Christ paid for it with is life. That’s how much it cost to pay for this gift.
         4. It is permanent. It will last forever throughout eternity.
        Where are you going to get a gift like that? Nowhere, except from God. It is a gift for you that will solve all your biggest problems, heal all your deepest hurts, forgive every single mistake you’ve ever made, help you understand the purpose you were put on earth for, make you a better person, fill your life with confidence, joy and peace and eternally secure your future in heaven. It is a gift that will allow you to have a personal relationship with God.
         When you realize just how wonderful and marvelous God’s gift is to you there is only one thing required of you to receive it and that is to simply accept it.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 5:10-11 (New Living Translation)
10
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Psalms 70:4 (Living Bible)
“Let those who love your salvation exclaim, “What a wonderful God He is!”

THINK…Find the answers
What reason does Romans 5:10-11 give that we can rejoice in a wonderful relationship in Christ?

What does Psalms 70:4 say we are supposed to say when we love God’s salvation?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Rick Warren describes God’s gift to us as personal, unique for each of us and priceless. Describe how God’s gift to you (a personal relationship with Him) is personal, unique and priceless to you.

Christmas is God’s gift to us, but an unused gift is a worthless gift. Describe how you came to the point when you realized that you wanted to have a personal relationship with Christ. If you haven’t reached this point yet, describe any reservations or questions you might have.

A personal relationship with God can help us solve our biggest problems. What problems has God helped you solve? Describe them in detail.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray and thank God for the wonderful gift He gave you at Christmas. Pray and ask God to help you develop a closer relationship with Him. Pray and praise God that He gave (or can give) you purpose and meaning to your life.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Zechariah 1-7
The book of Zechariah picks up where the book of Haggai ended, so to speak. Zechariah is a contemporary to Haggai and his message is the same: Finish the Temple and enjoy God’s blessing. Where Haggai’s message was a combination of rebuke and promise of blessing, Zechariah is more encouragement and promise of future blessing. The first half of the book lays out eight visions. The latter portion of the book contain a number of prophecies about the first and second coming of the Messiah.
1:4-6 If we don’t learn from history, we will repeat it.
2:3-13 Zechariah tries to encourage the people concerning their future. God plans to bless them with more people (v. 4); more livestock (v. 4); Divine protection (v. 5); deliverance from enemies (v. 9); conversions of other ethnic groups (v.11); and, return the favor of God on His people (v.12).
4:6-9 God reminds the people through Zechariah that they would succeed, not because of their own might and power; but because of His Spirit. He would be the source of their victory. Great works are done by God’s Divine hands (v. 6). The foundation of these works are human; the Lord works through people (v. 8). Great works are done by God’s Spirit, through us, to glorify God (v. 9).
7:1-10 God questions the motive behind our behavior: While the Jews had fasted and feasted at appropriate times, Zechariah declared their spiritual rituals meant little unless accompanied by justice.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.27.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.27.11.

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

TUESDAY — He Came for Our Benefit
Big Point: Make no mistake about it, the only reason God laid down His mighty power and glory was to come to this earth for our sole benefit. You should feel very privileged and special!

        Yesterday we studied that Christmas is relevant because God came to this earth. Today we get to understand the reason God intended for His son, Jesus Christ to come to this earth. Rick Warren lists some reasons why we should wholeheartedly share in the holiness of Christmas:

        1. Jesus came to this earth to show us what God is like. Christ is the real understanding of what God is really like.
        2. Jesus came to show us what life should be truly like. The truth is, most people aren’t really living, they are just existing. Until people start getting truly connected with God, they will never truly live life to the fullest!
        3. Jesus came to earth to show us that we can trust God. We don’t trust someone we don’t know. You’ve got to know God to trust Him fully.
         4. Jesus came to forgive everything we’ve done wrong so that one day we can go to a perfect place called heaven. We’ll learn more about this during Thursday’s bible study.

        Rick goes on to say that “God sacrificed a lot to do this for you. He left His eternal throne, His kingdom, His home in glory. He limited Himself, became a human being. He put up with all the aches and pains and suffering that we do even though He was God. He gave His life for us, He died on the cross. Jesus Christ did not stay in the manger. He didn’t stay in the crib. He went to the cross. Why in the world would He do that? Why in the world would God come to earth in human form and die for you? Because He loves you. He loves you more than you will ever understand. You can’t fathom how much God loves you. You can’t even understand it because your brain isn’t big enough.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 John 3:5 (Living Bible)
“He became a man so that He could take away our sins…”

Philippians 2:6-8 (Living Bible)
“Though He was God… He laid aside His mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And He humbled Himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.”

THINK…Find the answers
For what reason did God become man as described in 1 John 3:5?

God did some very special things for us as described in Philippians 2:6-8. List the amazing things that He did for us as described in this scripture.
1. He laid aside what:

2. Taking the disguise of a what:

3. He became what: 4. He became the big “H” by: 5. He died what type of death on the cross:

 

Jesus Christ laid down his life for you when you were not his friend. In fact, before you even knew him,
when you were going the opposite direction headed in a different way he gave his life for you.
The reason for Christmas is for your benefit. Rick Warren

LIVE…What will you do now?
Lee made the statement during the Christmas Eve message that “Christmas is about Jesus, but Christmas is actually for us.” How do you feel about that statement?

Take a moment and describe your daily tasks. Do you believe that Jesus can relate to your struggles? As a human, Jesus faced the same difficulties we may endure. How can you know that you can trust Christ to be there in tough times?

One of the reasons Jesus came is because he wanted to show us what God was like. He also wanted to show us what life should be like and how we can really live. What is the difference between living a “religious life” and the “full life” Jesus wants for us?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you fully understand the benefits Christ has specifically for you.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Haggai 1-2
This prophetic book exemplifies the need for context. Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and a great number of Israelites are exiled (including Daniel and his three friends). In 539 B.C. Cyrus king of Persia conquers Babylon and Cyrus allows part of the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. The rebuilding began in 536 and ceased in 534 B.C. The people’s resolve vanished and instead of working on the Temple, the inhabitants of Jerusalem worked in their own homes, making them more sophisticated than the royal places and the Temple. Haggai starts his ministry in August 29, 520 B.C. and it lasts four months. His message was a rebuke of the people to finish the Temple and the promise of God’s blessing when they do. The book is structured in four sermons.
1:7 “… consider your ways”. We should stop and periodically review our lives in light of God’s Word. Very often this is all it would take to alert us to a dangerous trend or to confirm that we are heading in the right direction.
1:13 “I am with you”. God’s promise to Moses was, “I will certainly be with you” (Exodus 3:12). God’s promise to the people of Judah was that the name of the Coming One would be Immanuel, meaning “God is with us”.
2:3 “who is left among you…”. God knows we tend to compare our current circumstances with what went before, and to long for “the good old days”. But He wants us to fix our eyes on Him and the still greater things He has planned for us.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.26.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.26.11.

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

How was your Christmas yesterday? Did you experience any special moments in the midst of your family visits, the frenzy of opening presents, or possibly a profound dream during a much needed nap like Kyle mentioned in his “Home for Christmas” video from a weekend ago? Would you say it felt … well … holy?
We often hear the famous carol “Oh Holy Night” but do you believe people still consider it to be holy? When you think of a night or a day being holy, usually there is some significance drawn toward the event. And as a result, establishments like grocery stores recognize the significance by closing up shop for the day. Do you remember the days when if you forgot to pick up some eggs or milk the day before Christmas, you were basically out of luck. These days you can pick up the items you forgot for a premium price at your local corner store. Where once businesses were willing to forgo revenue to honor that holy day, now they capitalize on your forgetfulness. It almost makes you wonder what’s so holy about Christmas anymore?
So maybe stores are not closing like they used to but one thing remains constant. When we say the year 2011, what we actually are saying is that Jesus Christ was born two thousand and eleven years ago. Who cares? Well, we should because that holds such deep significance. Think about it, a group of people decided Christ’s birth was so holy that we should base our entire yearly counting system on this special occasion. And now, everyone recognizes this. Talk about significant, holy, or as Webster describes holy—exalted and worthy of complete devotion.
What’s more is that in just six more days, we will usher in yet another year, and we can share with our family and friends that just two thousand and twelve years ago, our Lord, our Savior, Christ, was born to take away our past, present and future sin. We should hold onto this very sacred and impactful thought not just on Christmas and New Year’s Day but every single day we remain on this earth.
This past weekend, Lee shared from one of Rick Warren’s sermon’s entitled “What’s So Special About Christmas.” We pray you now have a completely fresh and renewed comprehension of the magnitude and worth of this holy event. Lee shared why Christmas is so abundantly relevant in that God came to earth. Enough said, right? That’s huge. Not only did God come to this earth in human form, as we will read and discuss more in this bible study, He came completely and solely for our benefit. What a gift. And as a result of His coming, we understand that if we open that gift, we get to fall into a deep relationship with Him. And when we do, we can experience the freedom that comes from trusting that God is in complete control of our lives. If that doesn’t give you a sense of peace as you go into this New Year, we don’t know what will.
So now, in this very moment, take the time to sing “Oh Holy Night” again with a fresh new perspective. And we pray that after completing this LIO study you “fall on your knees” and “praise his holy name” like you have never done before.

Oh Holy Night
The Stars are Brightly
Shining
It is the Night of our dear
Saviors Birth.

MONDAY — God Came To Earth
Big Point: God came to earth in the form of a human child so we could relate to Him and trust Him.

        There is a story about the little girl who was coloring a picture in her Sunday School class. It was a pretty picture, but the teacher couldn’t quite figure out what it was going to be. So she asked her. The little girl was so into her work of art that she didn’t even look up from her paper. Without even looking up, she told the teacher, “I’m coloring a picture of God.” Well, the teacher didn’t quite know what to do. She knew how involved the girl was in her artwork, but she knew she needed to correct her theology as well. So she told her—“Sweetheart, you can’t really draw a picture of God because nobody really knows what He looks like.” The little girl still didn’t look up from her paper when she said, “Well, they will when I get done.”
        How many times do we do that? How many times do we paint a picture of God based on what we think He ought to look like rather than what He is really like? How many times do we make Jesus out to be something that He really isn’t?

READ…What does the Bible say?
Colossians 1:15-16 (The Living Bible)
“Jesus Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and in fact, Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything…”

Philippians 2:7 (Amplified)
“He became like men and was born a human being.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Colossians 1:15-16. What does it mean to you that Jesus is the exact likeness of the unseen God?

Why do you think God would come to us in the form of something we can understand as described in Philippians 2:7?

How is this different from all the other religions in the world?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Did you ever see “The Passion of Christ” produced by Mel Gibson? If you’ve never seen it, the movie provides such deep illustrations of the last few days of Jesus’ life—you really felt like you were there. Now, pretend for a minute that you are writing the script of a movie having God come to earth, describe in detail how you would have Jesus arrive? Who would be invited, what would everyone wear, what would the day be like? Write a few notes here (no pressure, Mel won’t ask for a copy …but then again, who knows).

Look at what you just wrote in your arrival story for your movie. What are some things you notice about the difference between how you would have had Jesus arrive and how God had Jesus arrive? Write down three ways you can keep your eyes and heart open for the “real Jesus” this week?

1.

2.

3.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Take a little time and slow down. Put on your coat, mittens, hat and take a walk alone. Ask God to help you see His son as you walk around the neighborhood. When you get home take a few minutes and write down all the things you saw, felt and heard. Ask Jesus to continue to show Himself in His Word and in your life.

During World War II it was big news when the allies invaded Normandy on D-Day.
But it was bigger news when God invaded earth 2011 years ago.
It was big news when man walked on the moon. But it was bigger news when God walked on the earth.
And not only did God come to earth but most shocking of all He came in the form of a human being! Rick Warren

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Zephaniah 1-3
1:1 The book of Zephaniah is a bad-news-good-news book. Zephaniah means “hidden in the Lord”, a name that relates to the principle message the prophet presented. “Hezekiah” most likely reflects the notable king of Judah (2 King 18-20). This likely explains Zephaniah’s thorough knowledge of the royal court and political decisions and also his likely access to king Josiah. King Josiah reigned from 640-609 B.C. Zephaniah started his ministry in 627 B.C. (same year the prophet Jeremiah started his ministry). The prophets witnessed the great religious reform king Josiah instituted, which unfortunately did not last.
1:8 “The Day of the Lord” is the theme of chapter 1. The Day of the Lord describes a period of unusual activity on the part of God in the affairs of His people.
1:12 “who says in their heart, the Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil”. The complacency of wicked people led them to believe that God is similarly complacent. Foolishly, they believed that the Lord would be inactive in either blessing nor cursing, neither benefiting nor punishing His people.
2:3 “Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth.” The Hebrew word for meek may also be translated as humble and is derived from a verb meaning “to be afflicted” or “to be bowed down”. The word frequently refers to the poor or oppressed, but it also signifies strength of character in enduring suffering without resentment. Such character is rooted in a strong faith in God and His goodness and a steadfast submission to the will of God.
3:17 This verse answers the question: “How can I endure in my faith during hard times?”

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.23.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.23.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Home For Christmas

FRIDAY — Reflection and Action!

REMINDER—CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES CONTINUE TODAY! Christmas Eve services are at 5:30 pm and 7:30pm tonight at all CedarCreek.tv campuses, including LIVE on our iCampus. Who have you invited?

Can you believe Christmas is just a few days away? We pray you took some time to really allow this LIO study to make an impact on your heart. We thought we’d end the week with an excerpt from one of Lee Strobel’s talks. Perhaps if this week’s LIO hasn’t spurred you to action, maybe this will.

“… Maybe you’ve been living sort of a dry Christian life – it’s been boring, it’s been plain vanilla. It may be that you’ve found home in Christ but then you’ve locked the door and gotten into your La-Z-Boy chair and put it back and you’ve kind of lost sight of those people who are out wandering, out in the cold looking for home. And God says that’s not the way the Christian life is supposed to be led. That is a formula for frustration. God says what you need to do is get up off the La-Z-Boy and open the door up and go back out into the world and to the people you know and the people you encounter and say, Are you looking for home? Are you looking for hope? Are you looking for encouragement? Are you looking for security? Are you looking for eternal life? There is a place where you can go. There is a God who you can know who can change your life and change your eternity …”

REFLECT…What have you learned this week?
• Take some time to review the past few LIO days and determine what the most impactful question was that you had to answer? What affect has that question had on your life?

• What steps have you taken thus far to examine your heart and to know how deeply you are willing to allow Christ to live in your heart?

 

• Have you made plans to get involved with Impact419? If not, what’s holding you back?

 

NOTE: If times are challenging and you just don’t have the resources, perhaps you can ask your LifeGroup and collectively you can get involved.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you make this Christmas Season the most impactful season you have ever experienced. Invite Christ to make a permanent and deeply vested home in your heart and then invite someone else to experience the same by inviting them to your home church.

 Weekend Updates!
• Christmas Eve Services: There’s still time to invite friends to a Christmas Service. Saturday, December 24th, Christmas Eve services will be held at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm. Get on Facebook, call a friend, send a text—invite someone! If all else fails and you miss the Christmas service, you can tune into the iCampus on Sunday, December 25th, Christmas Day, as a service will play every two hours from 8am-10pm.

• Impact419: Perhaps you’ve been reading about Impact419 all week and you did not get a chance to pick up a list of needed items last weekend. Well, there is still time. Head over to a Welcome Center this weekend and pick up a list and get involved. Perhaps you and your family can get some shopping done after Christmas and drop off your items. Final drop off is January 1st.

• Sanctus Real Concert: Purchase tickets for the New Year’s Eve Sanctus Real concert at the door. The concert will be held at the Perrysburg campus.

• Need resources to help you and your home thrive? HomeMatters provides Christ-Centered resources that address a wide variety of topics to assist you in being able to deal with life’s difficulties, such as dealing with financial emergencies, helping friends in crisis, teaching your children about God and struggles with addiction. Check out the resources at our new HomeMatters wall.

 

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: Lauri White

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

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Habukkuk 1-3
Ch. 1: Habakkuk lived in Judah during the reign of Jehoiakim. He prophesied between the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. and the Babylonian invasion of Judah in 588 B.C. This book records the prophet’s dialogue with God concerning the questions: Why does God often seem indifferent in the face of evil and why do evil people go unpunished? God responds to Habakkuk’s questions and concerns by stating that He would do amazing acts that would astound Habakkuk.
Ch. 2: The watchman and the watchtower, often used by the prophets to show an attitude of expectation, are pictures of Habakkuk’s attitude of patient waiting and watching for God’s response. This chapter records God’s answers to Habakkuk’s questions: Judgment, although slow, is certain. Although God used Babylon against Judah, He knew their sins and would punish them in due time. The righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
Ch. 3: Habakkuk knew that God was going to discipline the people of Judah and that it wasn’t going to be pretty. But he accepted God’s will, asking for help and mercy. Habakkuk did not ask to escape the discipline but he accepted the truth that Judah needed to learn a lesson. Habakkuk had asked why bad people prosper, and God had answered, “They don’t, not in the long run.” We learn to trust that God has a plan and purpose for all our circumstances.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.22.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.22.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Home For Christmas

 THURSDAY — Home is Deep in Our Hearts
Big Point: Finding peace at home requires us to go DEEP!

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES START TODAY! Our Christmas Eve services start this evening at 5:30pm and 7:30pm at all CedarCreek.tv campuses, including LIVE on our iCampus.

 

What does it mean to “go deep” in your faith? This is one of the most debated questions in evangelical Christianity—and lots of people think they have the right answer. While there might be many different definitions of what it means to “go deep” one thing is for certain: We will never be satisfied in our relationship with God unless we pursue going deeper with Him.
In his book, Into the Depths of God, Calvin Miller says that God’s presence mysteriously beckons us, but we will never understand the majesty of God if we are hooked on the safety of the shallow Christian life. Check out this illustration from Miller: “Now often the church is like Gilligan’s Island,” he begins. “None of the characters were going anywhere really. They were just living and talking about a bigger world. But their conversation never amounted to much and none of them sacrificed themselves in any major way to get off their island.”
If you have ever swam in the ocean, you know that the surface is noisy and turbulent. But, if you dive deeper—where it seems less safe—that is where all is quiet, calm and clear. Miller uses the contrast between surface snorkeling and deep sea diving to explain that there are tremendous treasures that lie in the deep that can never been fully explained to those who have been in the shallow waters.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Philippians 3:12-14 (New Living Translation)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, 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, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Matthew 6:33
(New Living Translation)
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above
all else, and live righteously, and
he will give you everything you
need.

 

THINK…Find the answers
Read Philippians 3:12-14. The Apostle Paul wants believers to know that while we will never achieve perfect Christ-likeness on this side of eternity, that should not ever stop us from continuing to move closer to Christ each day. Why is it so important for us to put our past behind us in order to keep growing spiritually?

 

Look at the word “press” in verse 14. When we think about the idea of going deeper, we must realize that resistance mounts the deeper we go. What does it mean to “press on” in the Christian life? What is the resistance we are facing?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Do you have a junk drawer or room at your house? It’s the space or room that we try to keep non-family away from as much as possible because we just don’t want them to see it (especially at Christmas). Spiritually speaking, we all have a place that we just don’t like to go to. What place is that for you?

 

Now, how do you feel about the idea that the very place you don’t want to give Christ access to is the very place where he can do the greatest work in your heart? What do you think you have to lose by keeping that area away from Christ’s rule in your life? What do you have to gain if you turn over control of that area?

 

So you’ve been running,
searching for something
But you’re looking in a place you
don’t belong.
But it’s never too late,
you can’t outrun grace
No, mercy doesn’t care what
you’ve done.
So, come home. So, come home.
Song, “Come Home

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
In order to go deep within our lives with Christ, we’ve got to let him into every area of our heart. Every one of us has a secret place in our heart that we try to protect from others or pretend doesn’t exist. Whatever your “junk” pile, Jesus wants to help you deal with it so that your heart—his home—is a place where Christ can reign fully and you can live for his glory. Pray about this today.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Nahum 1-3
Ch. 1: Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, is the subject of Nahum’s prophecy. Although Nineveh had repented a century earlier after Jonah’s prophecy, they had fallen back into wickedness. God alone has the right to be jealous and to carry out vengeance, because His purpose is to restore world peace.
Ch. 2: This chapter predicts the events of 612 B.C. when the combined armies of the Babylonians and the Medes sacked seemingly impregnable Nineveh. The good news for Judah, whom Assyria had afflicted, was that its conquerors and tormentors would be destroyed and would never rise up to torment it again. Nineveh was so completely demolished that its ruins were not identified until 1845.
Ch. 3: Nineveh used its beauty, prestige and power to seduce other nations. Like a harlot, she had enticed them into false friendships, then turned on them at their weakest, destroying them. All nations hated to be ruled by the merciless Assyrians, but all nations wanted to be like Assyria – powerful, wealthy, prestigious, and they courted Assyria’s friendship. However, their power was seductive, and ultimately destructive.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.21.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.21.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Home For Christmas

IMPACT419 REMINDER: Is there anything stopping you from getting involved with Impact419?
If you just can’t get involved, we ask for your prayers that others will get involved.

 

WEDNESDAY— What’s Blocking Your Heart?
Big Point: Remove any barriers that disallow God to penetrate your heart!

        Dogs are typically known to protect their masters’ homes and strike a bit of terror into the hearts of visitors, guests, and, well, postal workers who dare to approach their home. But not all dogs are created equal. Have you ever seen a Yorkshire Terrier or a Chihuahua try to act as the protector of the home. Bark as they may, you are likely to say “oh, how cute” as you politely step pass by with a hand extended to try and pet them. Not so true for the infamous, horse-like dog that Kyle Gray has: The Great Dane named “Bear Gray”. Have you seen this beastly animal? This dog even has his own Facebook page. We are certain many mail carriers did a quick “about-face” when they saw this monster of a dog. There was surely no hand extension as it would likely result in no hand!
        Sadly, a lot of us don’t know it, but we’ve got a big ole’ Great Dane standing at the front door of our hearts disallowing Christ to enter in. As a result, our hearts are rotting and experiencing tons of blockages, similar to the plaque in one’s arteries that can result in a heart attack. What does this plaque look like? It’s evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness (Mark 7:21-23). Nasty, right? Do yourself a favor, get rid of the Great Dane that’s blocking your heart and allow Christ to fully and freely enter.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Mark 7:21-23 (New Living Translation)
21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

Psalms 139:23 (New Living Translation)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

THINK…Find the answers
Mark 7:21-23 lists some pretty vile things that are in a person’s heart. What are they? Where do these vile things come from?

 

What does Psalms 139:23 say that we should do in order for us to understand what is going on in our hearts? What should we expect will happen when God searches us?

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
It’s hard to think of ourselves as having vile things living in our hearts. But, in fact, we do. List some of the vile things that seem to live in your heart and what you are doing to rid yourself of some of these things.

Some of you may be thinking of Proverbs 4:23 that says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” By now, we hope you understand that’s not the type of protection we are talking about. We are referencing those who disallow Christ to come into their heart. List some of the things that may be blocking your heart from truly understanding and knowing Christ.

 

 

Unable to think of such things? Are you up for a test? If you quickly say, “No, I don’t want a test. Christmas is coming and that’s the last thing I need.” If that’s you, well, then you just identified a blockage. For everyone else, ask God to test you and know your anxious thoughts today. Then, at the end of the day, write out what you learned about yourself.

 

 

 

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to unblock the areas of your heart so that Christ can come in and rid your heart of the vile things that live there.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Micah 1-7
Ch. 1: Micah Means: Who is like the Lord?” All the earth was to know that God was witnessing against His people because of their breach of covenant. Jacob is used to refer to the northern kingdom Israel, whose sin was centered on its capital Samaria. Their sin extended to Judah, the southern kingdom.
Ch. 2: The ethical teaching of the prophets regularly included oracles of judgment against greed, theft and oppression, actions of the powerful in attacking the weak.
Ch. 3: The rulers of the people of God were expected to emphasize justice which is one of the key concepts of the law. Micah used an image of barbaric cannibalism to describe the horrendous actions of the leaders against the people.
Ch. 4: “last days” … A prophecy of end times, when God will reign… an era of peace and blessing; a time when war will forever end.
Ch. 5: Jerusalem’s leaders were obsessed with wealth and position, but Micah prophesied that mighty Jerusalem, with all its wealth and power, would be besieged and destroyed. In contrast, Bethlehem, a tiny town, would be the birthplace of the only ruler who could save his people. The ruler is Jesus, the Messiah.
Ch. 6: Micah pictures a courtroom. God, the judge, tells the people what He requires of them and recites all the ways they have wronged both Him and others.
Ch. 7: Corruption was universal, but God promised to lead the people out of the darkness of sin. God alone is perfectly faithful.