Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.8.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 6.8.11.

WEDNESDAY—Courage comes when we are courageous!
Big Point: We don’t need to pray for courage. We just need to be courageous and then, we will have courage!

Spc. Ross McGinnis was traveling in a Humvee convoy in Northeast Baghdad. His convoy’s mission was to patrol the streets as well as find a place to put a 250-kilowatt generator that would provide electricity for over 100 homes.

While stopped on the street, an insurgent dropped a grenade from a rooftop above Spc. McGinnis’ Humvee, which was last in the convoy. McGinnis was manning the vehicle’s machine gun. He yelled “grenade” and prepared to jump out of the truck according to those in his vehicle.

However, Spc. McGinnis realized that no one else would be able to get out of their positions soon enough to escape without injury or death, so instead of saving his own life, McGinnis threw his body against the grenade and smothered the explosive with his body. The grenade exploded as soon as McGinnis covered his body with it, killing him instantly. The others in the vehicle survived the explosion.

John 15:13 says that the greatest love we can have for others is when we lay down our lives for them. It takes courage to put someone else’s needs above our own because we are naturally wired to seek fulfillment of our own desires and wishes. Courage doesn’t come naturally. It only comes when we act courageously.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Corinthians 16:13 (New Living Translation)
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

Psalm 27:14 (New Living Translation)
14Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Psalm 31:24 (New Living Translation)
24 So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!

Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

THINK…Find the answers
In 1 Corinthians 16:13, the Apostle Paul is summing up principles for powerful living for the oft-wayward Corinthian church. Look at each of Paul’s short admonitions. How are they related with each other?

LIVE…What will you do now?
We all want to think that we could be as courageous as Spc. Ross McGinnis. However, we never know if we are courageous until the moment that courage is needed arises. At that moment, we don’t have a lot of time to decide if we are going to be courageous—we either act with courage, or we don’t.

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? Why did you decide to act? How did you feel once the situation was over and you could reflect on your actions?

When is the last time you took a stand for your faith? (Ex: inviting someone to church, sharing your faith, standing up for injustice, tithing, giving up a sinful pattern of behavior) Why did you feel compelled to act or speak? How did that act of courage change you?

If you haven’t taken a stand recently, could there be an opportunity for you to try again? If so, what would you do?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
We could pray for God to give us opportunities to be courageous, however, those opportunities are all around us. We just have to pray and ask God for a fresh perspective on the new ways He wants us to live out our faith with bold courage.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 33-36
33:7 “the tabernacle of meeting…” In the time prior to the construction of the tabernacle, Moses’ tent became the special meeting place for Moses to talk intimately with God.
33:12-17 Again, Moses entered earnestly and confidently into the role of intercessor before God for the nation whom he again referred to as “Your people.” Moses clearly understood that without God’s presence they would not be a people set apart from other nations.
34:1 “cut two tablets of stone…” Renewal of the covenant meant replacement of the broken, original tablets on which God had personally written the Ten Commandments.
34:29-35 The first time on the mount, unlike the second, had not left Moses with a face which was reflecting some radiance associated with being in the presence of the Lord for an extended period of time.
35:1- 40:38 In this section, the Israelites constructed the tabernacle as God so prescribed in chapters 25-31.
35:30- 36:1 The Lord also gave the two named artisans skill in teaching their trades. This substantiates that they were, most probably, the supervisors or leaders of the construction teams.
26:2-7 The people, stubborn and disobedient at times, nevertheless rose to the occasion and voluntarily brought much more than was needed for the building of the tabernacle.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.7.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 6.7.11.

TUESDAY — Don’t let your “but” get in the way!
Big Point: We cannot let excuses keep us from standing up for our faith.

The “Bystander Effect”
In group situations people do not tend to feel personal responsibility to act. However, whenever one person does decide to take action in a situation, others usually act as well.

In March 1964, Kitty Genovese arrived home in the early hours of the morning and was stabbed repeatedly by an attacker. Her screams were heard by her neighbors, yet no one came to her aid. Kitty’s attacker left, yet came back to savagely stab and sexually assault her until finally killing her with a fatal wound on his third and final separate attack. Yet, not one of Kitty’s neighbors came to her aid until after she was dead.

When the police conducted interviews, 38 individuals admitted to hearing Kitty’s chilling screams for help and they all admit to not coming to her aid. Lots of excuses were given: they feared for their own safety, they worried their English wouldn’t be understood when talking to the police and one heartless person merely said: “I was tired.”

Kitty’s murder sparked new psychological research into what is now called the Genovese Syndrome or “Bystander Effect.” It’s so easy for us to just try to “go with the flow” or maintain status quo in our relationships at home or work. Being an “Undercover Christian” means that we can look like everyone else in the crowd. However, we never know who might be inspired to live out his or her faith just by watching us being courageous enough to live out ours.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Numbers 13:27-28 (New Living Translation)
27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!

Matthew 9:36-38 (New Living Translation)
36 When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Numbers 13:27-28. Circle the word “But” in verse 28. What was the attitude in the first part of the verse versus the attitude in the second part of the verse? What were the differences between how Caleb and Joshua reported the situation versus how the other 10 explorers interpreted the situation?

In Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus was traveling to town after town preaching the gospel and pointed out the need for disciples to carry the gospel messages to those who were lost and hurting. Why is it so important to have “workers” who are willing to stand up for their faith and reach out to others? Why does Jesus say there are so few workers?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Whenever we sense God calling us to take a stand for our faith, the word “but” can often get in our way, causing us to delay in being obedient. Choosing to stand with God doesn’t always require a large crowd as a witness, only your resolve to obey. In what area of your spiritual life do you need to follow God more courageously?

Can you think of some steps that would be involved in your decision to follow God with great courage in a particular area of your life? List those steps below:

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Hopefully, you were able to reflect on any “buts” in your life that have kept you from courageously living out your faith. If you are ready, tell God that you are ready and willing to demonstrate courage in that area of your faith. If you aren’t ready, ask God to keep reminding you of His faithfulness until you are ready.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 29-32
29:20 Daubing blood on the right ear, hand, and big toe symbolically sanctified the ear to hear the Word of God, the hand to do the work of God, and the foot to walk in the way of God.
29:45 “I will dwell…” That He would be their God and they would be His people was one thing; but that He would also dwell with them was a very important reality in the experience of the new nation.
30:18-21
“bronze basin…” The washing of hands and feet was mandatory before engaging in priestly duties. Again, the seriousness of being ceremonially purified is seen in the warning of death if this washing is neglected. Nothing casual was being done in the sanctuary or out in the courtyard.
30:22-33 Nothing was left to chance or to human ingenuity. The ingredients for making the anointing oil were carefully spelled out. Using anything different was totally unacceptable and brought with it the penalty of death.
32:1 “make us gods…” The Israelites, in a time of panic or impatience, succumbed to a pagan worldview. What made it more alarming was the rapidity with which pagan idolatry swept in despite recent, real-life demonstrations of God’s greatness and goodness toward them.
32:4 “a molded calf…” The young bull, which Aaron caused to be fashioned, was a pagan religious symbol of virile power. In worshiping the calf, the Israelites violated the first three commandments.
32:7 “your people…” In alerting Moses to the trouble in the camp, God designated Israel as Moses’ people, a change of possessive pronoun Moses could not have missed. Beforehand, God had acknowledged them as “My people.”
32:19 “broke them…” Moses pictured the nation breaking God’s commandments by actually breaking the tablets on which they were written.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.6.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 6.6.11.

Series: Vintage Faith
Joshua & Caleb


If you’ve been doing the CedarCreek Old Testament Daily Bible Reading, you have been reading about the Israelites’ exit from slavery in Egypt in dramatic fashion. Since God’s chosen people had been freed, their next stop was supposed to be The Promised Land—known as a place “flowing with milk and honey.” Now, there wasn’t literally going to be milk and honey all over the ground—that would get kinda sticky and gross. The Promised Land was a place set apart by God for the Israelites to rebuild their lives and their community. However, the Promised Land was already occupied with other inhabitants that had to go before the Israelites could move in.

From the very beginning of the Israelites’ journey, God promised them a land that would be a blessing to them as well as for generations to come. However, God’s promises were forgotten by the majority of the explorers once they became fearful of the inhabitants of the land.

During this weekend’s message, we explored differences between the courageous faith of two of the explorers, Joshua and Caleb, versus the fearful, cowardly response of the other ten explorers.

By definition, courage is doing something difficult, even when we are scared; or courage can be our decision to stand up for something even though we are being pressured to conform or do nothing. Joshua and Caleb might have seen the giants in Canaan, but they decided to believe God’s promise to give them that land. Unfortunately, they were alone in their decision to stand up for God. Can you identify with their situation?

Some of you are courageous enough to attend CedarCreek each week even though no one else in your family will come with you. Perhaps, you are the only person in your office who dares to read a Bible during breaktime or a lunch hour. It’s hard to be courageous when everyone else seems to be against you, but that is the very courage that God calls us to display. However, we don’t have to worry about those who stand in opposition to what we believe because the Bible tells us in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” There is always going to be those who stand in opposition to our faith, but their combined power and influence isn’t enough to move a flea’s wing when compared to the incredible power of God working in us and through us.

In each of our lives we have an opportunity to stand for something at some point in our lives. Being courageous doesn’t mean that we wait until it is easy to act, rather courage is taking a stand and acting when the pressure is most intense.

IN THIS WEEK’S STUDY WE WILL EXPLORE JOSHUA AND CALEB’S GREAT COURAGE UNDER PRESSURE.

MONDAY — Vintage Faith=Courageous Faith
Big Point: We cannot develop high quality faith without being courageous.

Courage: Acting even when you are scared; standing up for something even though you are being pressured to do nothing or conform.

On October 21, 2003, a young 13-year girl named Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a violent shark attack off the coast of Hawaii. A talented surfer, Bethany started riding the waves when she was just a toddler and by eight years old, Bethany was competing in surf contests.
During the attack, Bethany was critically injured. She was rushed to the hospital to endure several operations and her left arm had to be amputated. Many people thought Bethany would never surf again.
But, they were wrong. Nineteen months after the shark attack, Bethany won the 2005 NSSA National Surfing Championship and many other awards since then.
A committed Christ-follower, Bethany believes that God is using her story to inspire others and share Christ with them. Her story came to the silver screen earlier this year in the movie, “Soul Surfer.” Bethany’s courage gave her the determination never to give up and she has continued to trust in God and reach for her dreams.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Numbers 14:6-10 (New Living Translation)
6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 10 But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb.

Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

THINK…Find the answers
Numbers 14:6-10 tells the frustration and despair of Joshua and Caleb after the Israelites decided to believe the ten explorers who believed that they would be crushed by the inhabitants of the Promised Land versus trusting that God would give them victory.

In the passage, Caleb and Joshua tried to remind the Israelites of God’s what?

What evidence did Caleb and Joshua have to prove the case for God’s faithfulness? In verse 10 we read about how the entire community decided to turn against Caleb and Joshua. Why do you think they turned against the two men?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Living the Christian life takes tremendous courage! Especially since there are so many influences that woo us away from living out our faith. Can you think of a time when you should have taken a stand for your faith? What happened? What should you have done differently?

Our core beliefs and values are revealed when we are under pressure. While we think that peer-pressure only applies to teenagers, we have to realize that peerpressure is highly influential at any age. When do you sense a great pressure to back off your commitment to live out the Christian life and “go with the flow?”

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
It’s easy for us to look at the circumstances in our lives and become worried or afraid—yet, God calls us to be courageous because He is on our side. What giants are threatening your life right now? Spend some time reflecting on God’s record of faithfulness in your life and then talk to God about how you are doing when it comes to living out your faith courageously in places where you are tempted not to.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Exodus 25-28
25:2 “an offering…willingly…” Voluntarily and freely the people were given opportunity to contribute to the nation’s worship center from a list of fourteen components and materials needed.
25:9 “tabernacle…” The first five books of the Bible record five different names for the tabernacle: “sanctuary,” denoting a sacred place or set apart; “tent,” denoting a temporary or collapsible dwelling; “tabernacle,” denoting the place of God’s presence; tabernacle of the congregation,” and “tabernacle of the testimony.”
25:16 “the Testimony…” This is the designation for the two tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments.
25:18 “cherubim…” Forged as one piece with the golden cover of the ark were two angelic beings rising up on each end and facing one another.
27:1 “altar…” The largest piece of equipment, also known as the “altar of burnt offerings,” was situated in the courtyard of the tabernacle. Like other pieces of furniture and equipment, it was built to be carried by poles.
27:16 “gate of the court…” The curtain forming the covering for the entrance way into the courtyard was colored differently from that which surrounded the oblong courtyard. Clearly there was only one way to enter this very special place.
27:20 “pure oil of pressed olives…” The clear oil from crushed unripened olives granted almost a smoke-free light.
28:3 “gifted artisans…” This was the first reference in God’s instructions to Moses that certain men would be especially empowered by God to work skillfully on this construction project.