Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 9.06.11

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Series: Not a Fan
This Week: One and Only

Tuesday — The One and Only!
Today’s Big Point:
We cannot just “fit” Jesus into our lives. We must completely surrender to him.

     In John 3, we read about a fan named Nicodemus. You should know that he wasn’t just any fan. He was a well-known and well-respected man of God. Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, an elite group of community and religious leaders. He had been an admirer of Jesus for some time. Listening to the teaching of Jesus, he couldn’t help but be inspired. He watched as Jesus worked incredible miracles, but it wasn’t just his power that was impressive, it was his compassion and love.
    Nicodemus was ready to take his relationship with Jesus to another level, but it wasn’t that easy. It never is. There would be much to lose if he went public as a follower of Jesus. What would people think if they found out that Nicodemus was an admirer of this homeless carpenter-turned-rabbi from a nothing town called Galilee… being a secret admirer of Jesus cost him nothing, but becoming a follower came at a high price. It always does. Here is the reality that Nicodemus is about ready to have impressed on him: There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life. Following Jesus will cost you something—following Jesus always costs something. (from Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan).

Matthew 16:24 (New Living Translation)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

In the original language of the scriptures, the word “disciple” means mathetes. It means a learner or a student.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 14:25-28, 33 (New Living Translation)

25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison— your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost… 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Luke 14:25-33. How many times does the phrase “my disciple” appear in this passage of scripture? What is the significance of Jesus using such a possessive (“my”) phrase in the context of his invitation to follow him?

Focus on Luke 14:33. Why does Jesus tell us that we cannot be his disciples unless we give up everything for him? Why isn’t it possible to just “fit” Jesus into our life as it exists?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Luke 14:25-33 paints a picture of extreme discipleship. In our society today, no one wants to be called an “extremist.” However, in Luke 14:26, Jesus says we are to be exclusively his—he must be our one and only. But, that’s not always easy. There are a lot of things—good things and bad things—that get in the way.

Let’s look at our relationships to things and people and see where our heart is:
1. What do you mostly spend your time and money on? (sometimes we end up following money and the things money can buy instead of Jesus):

2. When you are hurt, where do you go for comfort? (sometimes where we consistently find comfort can take the place of Jesus for our devotion and affection).

3. What is it that really gets you excited? (sometimes the things that excite us can also point to something or someone that competes with Jesus).

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
You may read this and think “this is going to cost me a lot of time and energy —I just don’t think I can commit.” Ask God to take your hand and help you focus on Him throughout your day…making you aware of the benefits that outweigh any perceived cost; allowing everything else to fade away!

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Numbers 33-36
33:1-49 The Lord commanded Moses to write a list of Israel’s encampments between Egypt and the plains of Moab. Significantly, forty places were mentioned, reflecting the forty years spent in the wilderness. The God who would lead the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan was the One who had led them through the wilderness.
33:50-36:13 Entering the Promised Land had been Israel’s goal at the beginning of the book of Numbers. This last part of the book anticipated the settlement in Canaan.
33:50-56 God commanded that all of the Canaanites were to be exterminated, along with all their idolatrous symbols.
33:52
“their high places…” These are hills on which Canaanite altars and shrines were placed.
33:56 “I will do to you as I thought to do to them…” If Israel failed to obey God, she would be the object of God’s punishment in exactly the same way as the Canaanites were.
34:13 “give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe…” The land to be conquered was to be given to the nine and one-half tribes. The other tribes had already received their inheritance.
35:33 “Blood defiles the land…” Though murder and inadvertent killing polluted the land, murder was atoned for by the death of the murderer. Failure to observe these principles would make the land unclean. If the whole land became unclean, then the Lord would no longer be able to dwell in their midst.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 9.05.11

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Series: Not a Fan
This Week: One and Only

In the “Not a Fan” book, Kyle Idleman writes about Vijay Warrier—a man raised in India in the Hindu faith who grew up believing that the gods had given him favor. Vijay was born as a Braham, the highest caste of priests, and his mother was a priestess in an Indian temple.
Years later he married his wife, Girija, through an arranged marriage. Girija believed their marriage was not just a forced agreement but that there was real chemistry. Girija grew very interested in the Bible and began attending church, which caused much conflict and frustration between them. Ten years into their marriage, Girija was going to church every weekend. One weekend, instead of sitting in the car smoking and waiting for Girija to get out of church, Vijay decided to go inside for a cup of coffee in the church cafe. He was intrigued by the sermon he heard being broadcasted from the sanctuary and he decided to listen in.
In the weeks that followed, he decided to sit in the café and listen to the sermons— he was becoming a fan of Christ, sitting on the sidelines looking in. Until one day Girija asked Vijay to go to the prayer room and pray with a couple. After that day, Vijay asked many questions about the Christian faith, as he was not familiar with the idea of just one god. His biggest concern was his India family disowning him. But after much Bible study, prayer, and support from his church, he realized he was searching for someone, and that was Jesus, to help repair his failing marriage and radically change his life. The following Sunday, Vijay professed his belief in Christ, got baptized along with his two sons and renewed his life with his family. In the days that followed, Vijay moved from being a sideline fan to a “get on the field, overhaul and turn my life upside down” follower of Christ.
A lot of us get confused and believe we are followers of Christ, when in fact we are simply fans attending church, week after week, lacking true intimacy with Christ. Vijay started to become a fan by believing in God, and then over time he began to experience God by engaging in the process of developing true intimacy with Him—but first he had to repent and have a radically reliant heart. As Vijay began to draw near to God, God drew near to him (see James 4:8).
Last week Kyle challenged us to “define the relationship” (D.T.R.— as referenced in the book “Not a Fan”) we have with Christ. He further outlined the difference between being a fan and a follower. This week, Ben raised the challenge bar a few notches by asking us to dive into an intimate relationship with God so that we can truly know and experience Christ at the deepest level. This requires us to not just fit God into our already highly prioritized lives; rather, it requires us, just as Vijay did, to make Jesus our one and only true God. Ben further had us examine our hearts and he let us know that Jesus is not interested in sharing our hearts with anyone else or other things like our bank accounts, our career, our family or even religious rules or rituals. He asks us to count the cost … if following Jesus costs us everything, would it still be worth it? Our prayer is that after hearing Ben’s message and reading this week’s study, you will follow Christ, just as Vijay did, and commit to making authentic progress to radically alter your life and follow him.

Fans don’t mind Jesus inspiring them to make minor changes, little touch ups, and decorate their lives—

Followers don’t mind Jesus overhauling, severely interfering and turning their lives upside down! In fact, they desire it!

THIS WEEK WE’LL CONTINUE TO REVIEW HOW TO GO FROM
FAN TO FOLLOWER AND MAKE CHRIST OUR ONE AND ONLY.

Monday — Knowledge vs. Intimacy
Today’s Big Point:
Knowing God happens when we become deeply connected to Him and view Him as the source of everything we will ever need.

    Intimacy. Most people, particularly men, cringe when they hear the word. Visions of uncomfortable closeness or overexposure frighten us away from seeking intimate relationships with not only other humans, but Jesus Christ.
Martin R. DeHaan II wrote an excellent booklet titled “Experiencing Intimacy with God,” and he provides an outstanding dialogue on what true intimacy can be for those who long to know God. Here’s a small selection that defines what Christ- Centered intimacy is:
“The pursuit of intimacy is an intentional commitment to take steps toward God, and in the process of that Godward motion, to grow deeply conscious of, connected to, and confident in Him alone as the only source to satisfy, sustain and secure. The pursuit of intimacy is about growing more deeply connected to Christ as the ultimate source for all that I need.
The pursuit of intimacy is a process that is intentional. It is a process in that it is a lifelong adventure with increasing measures of satisfaction and meaning. It is intentional in that no one is zapped into intimacy; we must be actively focused on pursuit. James 4:8 says we are to draw near to God and he will draw near to us— that is a process statement.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 5:39-42 (New Living Translation)
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. 41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.

Matthew 15:8-9 (New Living Translation)
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

THINK…Find the answers.
Read John 5:39 and Matthew 15:8- 9.Remember back to this weekend’s message. Who is Jesus criticizing in both passages of scripture? Why was Jesus using such harsh language to condemn the religious leaders? What were they doing wrong?

Who were the religious leaders in Jesus’ time?
The Pharisees and Sadducees were the ruling class in Israel. Even though the two groups were comprised of different classes of individuals, both shared many similarities—both groups claimed to hold the scriptures in high authority. The irony of their supposed esteem is that Jesus’ coming was prophesied in the very scriptures they said they prized—yet, when Jesus came before them, they conspired to kill him because he was interfering with their power and influence. The religious leaders did not love God, they only loved the rules that kept them in power. (from gotquestions. org)

LIVE…What will you do now?
How do people confuse knowing about God with actually knowing God? What is the difference between the two concepts?

It doesn’t matter how much we know about God—it only matters if we get to actually know God. Now, how well do you know God—in other words, what level of intimacy do you have with God? Rate yourself:
1             2              3                  4               5               6               7                      8
Not really       barely-ish      acquaintances     friendly       really good friends!

What is the basis for your answer? If you aren’t happy with your answer, what do you think you need to do in order to know God more?

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do?
It doesn’t matter how well you do—or don’t—know God. Growing in intimacy with God is a process that all of us engage in throughout our entire lives. No one ever arrives! Take some time today to get to know God better by just talking to Him.

Knowledge doesn’t always culminate in intimacy,
but intimacy always
  bring forth knowledge.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Numbers 29-32
28-30
Numbers periodically interrupts its history with lists of rules or rituals. The instructions that are listed here are not new, but God saw a need to review them just as the nation was about to enter the Promised Land.
29:1-6 The Feast of the Trumpets was celebrated on the first day of the seventh month. Ram’s horns were blown to celebrate. This was a holy day on which they all worshiped together.
29:7-11 The annual Day of Atonement pointed to the forgiveness and cleansing of sin for the priests, the nation, and the tabernacle. This day was celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month.
29:12-38 The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated God’s deliverance, protection, and provision during the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus. It also celebrated the autumn harvest. This feast was held on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.
30:1-16 This chapter added clarification to the laws, regarding vows given in Leviticus 27. This passage asserts that a man was responsible for the vows made by women in his household.
30:2 “a vow…” A promise to do something or a promise not to do something. 31:2 “Gathered to your people…” A euphemism for death.
31:25-54 The plunder was divided equally between those who went and fought and those who stayed.
32: 1-24 The tribes of Reuben and Gad desired to live in the land already conquered because they possessed many herds of livestock and the land was good for grazing. Moses gave them portions of the land only on the condition that they would fully participate in the conquest of Canaan.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 9.02.11

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FRIDAY — Reflection

• What have you learned this week about your relationship with Christ?

• On Wednesday, you were asked to write down three words that currently describe your relationship with Christ. In the space below, write down three words that you WANT to describe your relationship with Christ.

• What will it take for those three words to become true for you?

This weekend, we are going to continue with the second week of our series, Not a Fan. If you haven’t done so, we’d encourage you to purchase the Not a Fan book by Kyle Idleman. Here’s a short excerpt of the next chapter:

Here is the reality that Nicodemus is about ready to have impressed on him: There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life. Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs something. For Nicodemus it would cost him a powerful position. It would cost him the respect of his co-workers. It would cost him his source of income and livelihood. It would cost him friendships. It would likely cost him some family relationships. This brings up a very telling question for most fans: has following Jesus cost you anything? I don’t mean for that to be a rhetorical question. Take a moment and jot down what following Jesus has cost you. How has following Jesus interfered with your life?

HomePointe Activity
Activity Objective: Provide a visual example of what it means choose to follow Jesus rather than doing things on our own.
Lesson Outcome: Everyone should visualize themselves as followers of Jesus.
Materials: Long, white butcher paper, markers, masking tape
Group Activity
1. Explain to the group that we are all trying to be followers of Jesus rather than trying to live life our own way.
2. Give everyone (adults and children) a marker.
3. Roll out the butcher paper across the floor (not on carpet).
4. Have everyone trace their footprints.
5. After tracing, each person writes in their footprints a prayer to God to help them in some aspect of their lives (Examples: stop fighting with a sibling, obey their parents or teacher, listen better in church, and be more patient) or for forgiveness for something they have done.
6. Everyone should find a verse from this week’s LIO and write it down under their prayer.
7. Optional: Children can decorate around their footprints.
8. Hang the paper like a banner, with the footprints pointing upwards, as if the class was walking toward Jesus.

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for hearing our prayers and we ask that you help us to follow you rather than live for ourselves.

Living It Out: *NEW* September 2011
Luke 9:23 (New Living Translation)
23 Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you
wants to be my follower, you must turn from your
selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

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 Reading Commentary and “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Kaye Althaus
Emily Lee
Tammy Kaiser
Barb Roose

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Numbers 25-28
25:1-3 While rival armies were a threat to the Israelites, the greater threat was the temptation to become mixed in with the pagan Canaanites’ culture and their religion. The Israelite men were interested in sex and they were enticed by temple prostitutes who worshipped pagan gods. Soon, Israelite men began attending festivals and rituals that involved worship of the Baal, the most popular pagan god of the Canaanites. The Israelite men’s sexual desires caused them to lose focus on their spiritual commitment and they were led into idolatry—and many died.
25:12-13 Phinehas’ anger is justified and his actions stopped God’s wrath. His descendants would become high priests of Israel.
26:64 It had been 38 years since the census in Numbers 1. Everyone had died from that generation except for Caleb and Joshua—the courageous men who spoke up in Numbers 13.
27:3-4 Hebrew law gave only sons the right to inherit, except the daughters of Zelophehad had no brothers. God allowed the man’s inheritance to go to the daughters if they married within their own tribe. 27:15-21 Joshua had already demonstrated his leadership and Moses appointed him as the new leader of the Israelites. Moses gave Joshua tasks in order to ease his transition into the new position.
28:9 Extra offerings were presented on the Sabbath Day because it was a special day of rest and worship commemorating both creation and deliverance from Egypt.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 9.01.11

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Series: Not a Fan
This Week: Define the Relationship

THURSDAY — What’s the Verdict?
Big Point: There is still good news for those who realize they are just fans!

Jesus isn’t looking for admirers. He isn’t interested in fans, he wants followers. He wants players not armchair quarterbacks. He wants soldiers not XBOX gamers. He wants genuineness not superficiality. He wants followers not fans. Which one are you?
Fans often confuse their admiration for devotion. They mistake their knowledge of Jesus for intimacy with faith. Maybe you’ve already decided you’re a follower and not a fan. One of the core symptoms of “fan-dom” is that fans almost always consider themselves “followers”.
After Kyle’s message and going through the Living It Out this week, have you come to a verdict of whether you’re a fan or follower? No matter your answer, keep reading!

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 8:12 (New International Version)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

James 1:2-4 (New International Version)
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

THINK…Find the answers
According to John 8:12, how does Christ’s “light” guide his followers?

Read James 1:2-4. Someone who is a “fan” expects the Christian life to be about love and joy and tends to bail when asked to sacrifice or faithfully persevere through difficult circumstances. However, Christ-followers know the truth of being a Christian. What does James 1:2-4 tell us about the true faith of a Christ-follower?

LIVE…What will you do now?
An excerpt from John McArthur: The gospel according to Jesus Christ given in the New Testament is radically different from the typical modern message that is so often preached. In our contemporary times evangelists often portray Jesus as a somewhat frustrated, would-be Redeemer who stands outside anxiously awaiting an invitation from someone to come into his life. But in reality, the New Testament presents Christ as the inviter, the Savior who comes into the world, God in human flesh who invades the realm of humanity, who confronts sinners, challenges them, calls them, commands them to come to him, to believe in Him, to turn from sin, to embrace him as Savior and Lord. Rather than waiting for an invitation from sinners, he issues his own invitation to sinners in the form of a command to repent, and to believe, and to submit.

Let’s ask the question again: Are you a Christian in name only, a fan, or are you a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ? What, if anything, prevents you from answering this question?

If you consider yourself a follower, what in your lifestyle is evidence to that? What else can you do? (In other words, what were the things that Jesus did that you are not currently doing?)

Disciple: one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.
Merriam- Webster.com

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Take some time and really talk to God today. Part of being a follower is connecting to the one you are following. Share with God anything that is one your mind.

“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Numbers 21-24
21:14 “Book of the Wars of the Lord” is most likely a collection of victory songs and poems.
21:27-30 “Chemosh” This is the name of the national god of Moab.
21:34 God assured Moses of victory before the Israelites ever went into battle. God wants to give us victory over our struggles as well but we have to believe that He can help us; then we have to trust Him to help and, finally, we have to take the steps that He shows us.
22:4-20 Balaam was a sorcerer and put curses on others. It is interesting that God would use such a person to deliver a message to Israel’s enemies. Balaam had knowledge of God but his greed would not let him forsake his magic and turn to God.
22:29 The donkey saved Balaam’s life but made him look foolish in the process. Sometimes we strike out at others without realizing their actions or reactions are a result of our stupid mistakes or rash decisions. 23:1 The number “7” was sacred among many nations and religions.
23:18 Notice how even someone corrupt like Balaam could deliver powerful truths about God, such as: ”God is not a man, so He does not lie.”
24:1 While Balaam was used to looking for signs or omens, he realized those were not necessary because God was clearly speaking to him.
24:7 Balaam prophesies the defeat of Israel’s oldest enemy.
24:11 While Balaam’s motives were not correct, when he blessed Israel, Balaam acted with integrity. 24:15-19 “A star will rise from Jacob” This is thought to be a reference to the coming Messiah. God can use anyone, even a sorcerer, to accomplish His plans.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.31.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.31.11.

Series: Not a Fan
This Week: Define the Relationship

WEDNESDAY— Follower
Big Point:
The choice to be a disciple of Jesus is not an option for the Christian believer. It is a necessity.

Remember the from story from Matthew 26:1-13? Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon (a self-righteous, religious leader). Jesus was eating dinner when a woman entered the house and poured a jar of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet. (Known as an immoral woman, the woman never made excuses or tried to rationalize her lifestyle.) The other dinner guests criticized the woman for wasting the perfume, saying she could have sold it and given the money to the poor instead. But Jesus chastised Simon and the others in the household and praised the woman for her extraordinary act of reverence to him. To Jesus, this woman had the heart of a true follower.
     Followers of Jesus don’t mess around with pretense. They understand the value of conviction—they have seen the truth of Christ and do not hesitate to accept if for themselves.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 9:22-26 (New Living Translation)
22“The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” 23Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

James 2:14-17 (New International Version)
14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily good. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith but itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

THINK…Find the answers
In Luke 9:22-26 Jesus is predicting his own death. In verse 23, Jesus introduces the image of bearing one’s cross as a vivid image of a condemned man carrying the instrument of his death. What did Jesus mean when he said to “take up your cross daily?” What do you gain when you give up your life for Christ?

LIVE…What will you do now? We often compare ourselves against “lesser” fans to feel better about ourselves. As Christians we define our devotion to Jesus by looking at the holes in other peoples’ lives…where they don’t measure up. We use a “religious ruler” to judge how faithful someone is by how closely they stick to the rules and “how much they do” for the church. How would you define your relationship with Jesus, right now, in three words or less?

__________________             ____________________         ____________________

How do you feel about the words you’ve chosen?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Today, ask God to guide you on the road to discipleship so that you can become much more than just a fan. Ask Him to help you overcome the roadblocks you may encounter.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Numbers 17-20
18:20 The tribe of Levi was assigned to the Tabernacle and after the people had witnessed God’s punishment of Korah, they realized that caring for the Tabernacle was serious, sacred business. What God has ordained is sacred, don’t forget it!
18:25-26 Even though the Levites had no land or property, they were still required to tithe from the sacred and special offerings they received. God expects His followers to supply the needs of those who devote themselves to ministry, but those in ministry are still required to honor God in giving just like everyone else.
19:1-17 The red heifer’s ashes were used to purify water for ceremonial cleansing. Usually, an animal’s blood was drained before burning, but not in this case.
20:1-5 The Israelites had been in the wilderness for 37 years by the start of Numbers 20. There’s not a lot in scripture about their aimless wandering, but the generation of those who lived in Egypt had mostly died off. Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb were among the few that remained. Unfortunately, the Israelites were still complaining because they had forgotten it was their parents’ and their sin that was the cause of the punishment.
20:6-13 God had instructed Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses struck the rock twice and then took credit for the miracle. He disobeyed a direct command from God and dishonored God in the presence of the Israelites. For his disobedience, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.
20:14 The Edomites and Israelites were the relatives of two brothers, Esau and Jacob. The Edomites didn’t want the Israelites to pass through their land because they thought the Israelites would attack them or take their crops. Rather than add another challenge to the already challenging trip, Moses wisely decided to back up and take another way around to the Promised Land.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.30.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.30.11.

Series: Not a Fan
This Week: Define the Relationship

TUESDAY — Jesus has A LOT of fans!
Big Point:
When push comes to shove…whom do you FOLLOW?

Fan: an enthusiastic ADMIRERER of something.
A fan revolves around a focal point,
which changes through out the seasons of life.
It’s not constant or relational and it doesn’t guide our daily lives.
From dictionary.com

Follower: a person who imitates, copies, or takes as a model or ideal,
one who follows another in regard to his or her ideas or belief, disciple.
A follower is often an implication of personal relationship
and a longing commitment to a deeply impacted belief.
From dictionary.com

     An excerpt from Not a Fan: After a day of teaching, Jesus fed 5,000 people from a sack lunch of five loaves of bread and two small fish. The Bible tells us that even after everyone had their fill, there was plenty of food left over. After the meal, the crowd decides to camp out for the night so they can be with Jesus the next day. These are some big time fans.
The next morning the crowd wakes up and finds Jesus and his disciples have crossed over to the other side of the lake. These fans are hoping for an encore performance. By the time they catch up to Jesus, they miss their chance to order breakfast and they are ready to find out what’s on the lunch menu. But Jesus has decided to shut down the “all you can eat buffet”.
Fans like the show—they like to see the one that they admire do something that is worthy of admiration. The crowd wasn’t really interested in getting to know Jesus, they just wanted to be close by in case he did something interesting.

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 6:26-27 (New Living Translation)
26Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.

John 6:35 (New Living Translation) I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 6:66 (New Living Translation) At this point many of his disciples turned around and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

THINK…Find the answers
John 6 tells the story of Jesus’ feeding 5,000 people (let’s call them “fans”) with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, but the story doesn’t stop there. We see the crowd’s actions the next day. According to John 6:26-27, what did Jesus’ fans do the next day?

How can we know the crowd following Jesus were only fans, not followers? The gospel of John describes the character of being a fan. What were the fans’ primary interest? What is Jesus interested in? What is Jesus’ true offering?

LIVE…What will you do now?
What are you a fan of (a sports team, celebrities, hobbies, etc…)? What are some of the things that you do that identify you as a fan?

The focus of our “fan-dom” changes from time to time. Think back to the music you liked five years ago or the fashion trend you couldn’t live without 10 years ago. Jesus should not be a trend in our lives that fades with time. Are you able to identify any “fan-behaviors” that you need to eliminate?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray that God guides your activities to bring you closer to Him. Ask Him to help you prioritize your daily life to impact it with spiritual relationships instead of superficial admiration.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Numbers 13-16
13:1
Kadesh was an oasis in the wilderness, but it was also a sad place in Israelite history. It was here that the Israelites decided that they were too afraid to enter the Promised Land, so they had to wander for 40 years. At Kadesh, Moses disobeyed God (Numbers 20:-7-12). Aaron and Miriam also died here.
13:33-14:4 The negative opinion of 10 men caused millions to rebel. We have to be careful about our negative opinions because people often take opinion as fact and, therefore, we can unwittingly harm those who rely on us for advice.
14:1-10 Once the people began to freak out, they lost focus on God’s character. How often do we get so upset about something that we can’t even focus enough to remember God’s faithfulness in the past or pray about the situation?
14:22 “again and again” God wasn’t exaggerating when He said the Israelites had failed to trust Him. Reflect on what you’ve read in the last few chapters and how often the Israelites complained or rebelled. 15:32-36 This is a severe punishment because it was an act of deliberate sin. God mandated no work on Sabbath and this man was in direct violation.
16:1-10 Korah and his associates were not content with their position. One of the ways we can fall away from following God is by letting our greed or inappropriate ambition cause us to envy others or rebel against God.
16:26 “Don’t touch anything…” Touching the belongings of the men who rebelled would have represented sympathy to their cause and agreement with the rebellion. There are times when we have to make a fundamental choice if we are for God or not. We cannot act like we are for God, yet wink our eye at the enemy.
16:41 Notice how the people went right back to complaining…

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.29.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.29.11.

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

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.26.11.

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).