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Bible Study

LIO for the Week of 12/21: Home for Christmas–Devotionals

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

LIO 12/18— GIVE Hope

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

FRIDAY— GIVE Hope
Big Point: In Christ, we are people of this world and people of heaven.   

           When we’re looking for it, every day we encounter reasons why we can be grateful to be American citizens, but how often do we thank God, and have pride in being citizens of heaven? We have dual citizenship as followers of Christ, which also gives us a dual reality and a great hope.

We may have never even thought of it that way, but the fact is, we live in several different experiences at once. For instance, not only are we someone’s child, we may also be someone’s mother or father, aunt or uncle simultaneously. We are friends and we may also be married as well. We are citizens of this world and therefore face all the conditions and realities of it, but God has also offered us citizenship in heaven through Jesus.

In our December memory verse, Paul talks about the blessing of this citizenship and the hope it brings. We are God’s children, brothers and sisters of Jesus! That reality can radically impact our lives. Even though we are bombarded by the intricacies of our world, we also have the peace of knowing that we are dual citizens and that our heavenly goal is ahead of us. We can be excited about that citizenship because it’s eternal and gives us tremendous focus on preparing for Jesus’ return. It’s in that reality that we can grow, give hope, forgive, give grace and give back to our fellow citizens, knowing that for now, home is a frame of mind, not a place and time, and that one day we will be home for good.

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

December Memory Verse
Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Question: What are three things that give hope in this verse?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
True or False: I feel like a citizen of heaven as much as I feel like an American.

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
In light of the all the principles of giving we’ve discussed this week, including how we are given dual citizenship both here and in heaven through Christ, what could you do to give that same hope in Jesus to the people around you? List some practical steps here and choose one to do this weekend:

 

 

PRAY… Thank your Heavenly Father for offering you citizenship in heaven. Praise Him for sending Jesus to our home so that we can ultimately spend eternity with him. Thank Him for His grace and forgiveness when you get caught up in the realities of this world and forget that you are not yet home.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. Christmas is next week! Does that bring you joy, stress or both?
  2. During this “Home for the Holidays” series, we’ve been discussing how home is a frame of mind, instead of a place and time. How does shifting your frame of mind to seeing stress as an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow, change the emotions and stressors that the holidays bring?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 and Romans 12:18 and discuss the similarities and differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. What can you do this Christmas to take a step forward in this area?
  4. Lee talked this weekend about giving the benefit of the doubt using Ephesians 4:2-4. If you do what these verses say, what relationship would benefit the most in your life right now?
  5. Reflect and share on the times when you have been the most hopeful in your walk with Christ. Who can you invite to a Christmas service to share that same hope in Jesus?

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

 

Weekend Updates!

  • Extend an Invite… to our Christmas services. Service times are Dec. 19 – 5 & 7 / Dec. 20 – 9, 11 & 1 / Dec. 21 – no services / Dec. 22 – 7 / Dec. 23- 5 & 7 / Dec. 24- 1, 3, 5 & 7. Visit CedarCreek.tv to send an evite!
  • December 26/27: No services will be held at any campus. Enjoy these special iCampus services at home during regular service times so our volunteers and staff can enjoy this weekend with their families. It’s just right for “Home for the Holidays!”
  • Celebrate Recovery offers a place for adults and teens to find hope and healing, but starting January 1, CR will now also serve children 5 years old through 6th grade with Celebration Place. Celebration Place will run concurrently with CR and The Landing on Friday nights at all campuses starting at 7pm. At Celebration Place, children will have a place to build a foundation in Christ so they can better stand in the battles and temptations of life. With the addition of Celebration Place on January 1, Celebrate Recovery will now have something for the whole family.

Resources Used This Week:

Songlyrics.com

YouTube.com

Nation.co.ke

Biblehub.com

Biblegateway.com

The mission of the CedarCreek LivingItOut Bible study is to provide a complementary Monday-Friday study that digs deeper into Scripture and the weekend message topic so we can live out our faith daily in Jesus Christ.

Each week the LivingItOut (LIO) is put together by a team of writers and proofers. Thank you to this week’s team! Interested in serving? Questions or comments about this week’s study? Email MarnaW@CedarCreek.tv

 

LIO 12/17– GIVE the Benefit of the Doubt

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

THURSDAY– GIVE the Benefit of the Doubt
Big Point: When we love one another, we can give each other the benefit of the doubt.

 

While the words “home” and “house” are often used interchangeably, in reality they can be quite different. According to dictionary.com, one of the definitions of home is where our affections abide. Contrast that with the word house, which almost always refers to the physical building alone. In other words, home is more than a place, it is a frame of mind; and just as home is a frame of mind, so is giving the ones we love the most the benefit of the doubt.

The irony is that we find it easier to give the benefit of the doubt to those we don’t live with and love, more often than to those who we do. In fact, the ones we love the most are typically the first to know they have fallen short of our expectations and receive the least amount of our benefit of the doubt when they “mess up”.

To give someone the benefit of the doubt means that we choose to believe the best about them rather than the worst, when we could do either. We’re not talking about a stranger here, but someone we intimately know and have trusted in the past. They are trustworthy. It is these people that could use an extra measure of our grace when conflicts or miscommunications arise so that the relationship stays strong and comes first during turmoil. Paul talked about the importance of this when he wrote to the church in Ephesus to encourage them to greater unity. He gave specific instructions on what to do and explained why it was so important.

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

Ephesians 4:2-4 (New Living Translation)
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

Question: What are three character traits Paul is urging the people to exhibit? What does he tell us to do with the faults of others?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
Even if it’s easy to become angry and irritated with those we love, we are called to be humble, gentle and patient. Why?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
Do you give those you love the benefit of the doubt or do you always jump to the worst conclusion?

 

Sometimes our inability to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who is trustworthy is more about being right than it is about the relationship. As one popular author writes, “Is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right or improve the relationship?” Which is it for you?

 

PRAYAsk God to cultivate in you a spirit of humbleness, gentleness and patience and to eliminate the need to be right. Ask for opportunities to extend the benefit of the doubt to those you love throughout the week so that the relationship comes first.

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. Christmas is next week! Does that bring you joy, stress or both?
  2. During this “Home for the Holidays” series, we’ve been discussing how home is a frame of mind, instead of a place and time. How does shifting your frame of mind to seeing stress as an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow, change the emotions and stressors that the holidays bring?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 and Romans 12:18 and discuss the similarities and differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. What can you do this Christmas to take a step forward in this area?
  4. Lee talked this weekend about giving the benefit of the doubt using Ephesians 4:2-4. If you do what these verses say, what relationship would benefit the most in your life right now?
  5. Reflect and share on the times when you have been the most hopeful in your walk with Christ. Who can you invite to a Christmas service to share that same hope in Jesus?

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

LIO 12/16—GIVE Reconciliation a Try

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

WEDNESDAY—GIVE Reconciliation a Try
Big Point: Reconciliation is a process between two people, but it starts with you.

Reconciliation shows up in different ways in relationships, and it works a bit like an update on a computer or phone. It sometimes fixes a few minor bugs, and other times it requires an entire overhaul. Also, many times even after the fixes, there are lingering issues. We can’t always make reconciliation happen either. As great as an update button on a relationship would be, keep in mind that the terms and conditions along with the changes that update will make include you, too.

The heart of reconciliation is like “forgiveness plus” because it involves hope of restoration, reconnection and relationship harmony. Forgiveness takes one, but reconciliation takes two. Let’s face it, you can’t force someone into harmony, but you can take responsibility for the steps you need to take.

One way to do a temperature check on this is to picture yourself at the grocery store. Is there anyone you hope you won’t see? Or do you ever see someone and before they see you, you turn around to avoid them? If you’re avoiding someone, perhaps you have some steps to take. In the book of Romans, Paul talks about not only the steps to take, but the shift in our frame of mind to help us do that. Paul was planning on preaching in Rome and sent this letter ahead to give the Christians in Rome a sample of his message. Many of these actions seem opposite to our instincts, but if we take these steps, they have the potential to restore a relationship and perhaps, most importantly, restore our own heart to mirror God’s.

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

Romans 12:14-19 (New Living Translation)
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.

Question: Describe in your own words how Paul is telling the Romans to act.

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
If we act the way Paul is telling us all to behave, what do you think the outcome will be? How might others react?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
What specific actions encapsulate the attitude Paul describes? Are these a part of your everyday life?

 

How would you react to someone who you’ve had troubles with if they start acting in the manner Paul asks us to? What does this tell you about its effects and purpose?

 

PRAY… Ask God for the strength to be humble and to work towards reconciliation in your relationships. Ask Him to help you utilize the behaviors Paul describes, and to remain thankful and not resentful while doing so.

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. Christmas is next week! Does that bring you joy, stress or both?
  2. During this “Home for the Holidays” series, we’ve been discussing how home is a frame of mind, instead of a place and time. How does shifting your frame of mind to seeing stress as an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow, change the emotions and stressors that the holidays bring?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 and Romans 12:18 and discuss the similarities and differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. What can you do this Christmas to take a step forward in this area?
  4. Lee talked this weekend about giving the benefit of the doubt using Ephesians 4:2-4. If you do what these verses say, what relationship would benefit the most in your life right now?
  5. Reflect and share on the times when you have been the most hopeful in your walk with Christ. Who can you invite to a Christmas service to share that same hope in Jesus?

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

LIO 12/15– ForGIVE

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

TUESDAY– ForGIVE
Big Point: The story of Christmas is the ultimate story of forgiveness.         

          It’s Christmastime, and most of our favorite music groups come out with their “new” take on traditional songs and carols, as well as some original pieces. In his Christmas album release, singer/songwriter Jason Gray has written an original song about Joseph, but as it relates to forgiveness.

Remember Joseph was betrothed to Mary when she conceived her son by the Holy Spirit. In his introduction to the song, and as we did last week, Jason wonders about Joseph’s response to Mary’s news. Was he hurt by her “betrayal”, or angry, disgusted, humiliated, broken? Jason believes that Joseph, as the good man described in Matthew 1:19, worked through his emotions until he landed on forgiveness because of his decision to break the engagement quietly. This was the quality of man God was looking for to raise His son. Once Joseph chose forgiveness, the angel appeared to him in a dream to confirm what Mary had said.

Joseph showed Mary the kind of forgiveness we hope for with each other. He could have shamed her, informed the town of her betrayal, how he had no part in it; he was the injured party. Instead, he gently forgave her, excusing himself from being her judge and jury. In doing so, he freed himself from bitterness and resentment so that God could speak to his heart. It only takes one to forgive, and when we do, our hearts are free for the blessing God has for us. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, Jesus coming and paying the price for our sins so that we could receive the forgiveness of God?

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

Ephesians 4:29-32 (The Message)
29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. 31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Question: What specific advice does this verse provide?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
Do you think your words reflect the person of the Holy Spirit living inside you?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
Think of all the words you have used in the past 24 hours. Have they built people up, or torn them down?

 

With the help of the Holy Spirit, how can you make sure your words offer a gentle, understanding and forgiving spirit to those around you?

 

PRAY… Use these words: God, I recognize that our words have incredible power, the power to grieve not only those who hear, but also to break the heart of the Holy Spirit. I need Your help in this area of my words. Let me use them to build others up so my heart is not filled with judgment and bitterness. I want my heart to be available for You. Amen.

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. Christmas is next week! Does that bring you joy, stress or both?
  2. During this “Home for the Holidays” series, we’ve been discussing how home is a frame of mind, instead of a place and time. How does shifting your frame of mind to seeing stress as an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow, change the emotions and stressors that the holidays bring?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 and Romans 12:18 and discuss the similarities and differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. What can you do this Christmas to take a step forward in this area?
  4. Lee talked this weekend about giving the benefit of the doubt using Ephesians 4:2-4. If you do what these verses say, what relationship would benefit the most in your life right now?
  5. Reflect and share on the times when you have been the most hopeful in your walk with Christ. Who can you invite to a Christmas service to share that same hope in Jesus?

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

LIO 12/14-Blue Christmas: GIVE God Your Cooperation

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

LIOSTUDYBanner (1)

Click here for the series recap.

MONDAY—GIVE God Your Cooperation
Big Point: Times of stress are an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow.

We have all seen the “Pure Michigan” commercials—you know, the ones with the relaxing, calm voice of actor Tim Allen that beckons the listener to travel up north. Beautiful scenes fill your mind of escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You think, “If only I could… then, life would be much less stressful and I would be happy.”

There is a multimillion dollar industry that centers on the “Pure Michigan” mindset of the importance of relaxing and de-stressing. This industry tries to convince consumers to believe that another vacation, spa day, new experience or vitamin will improve our life. The truth is that stress can sometimes be beneficial to us; in fact, it’s necessary for us to improve and move forward! Think about a weightlifter, for example. In order to gain muscle, there must be a stress on the lifter’s body. The lifter needs to increase the amount of weight lifted—or add more stress—to become stronger and better.

Christmas has the potential to be a stressful time for many. That being said, what if instead of being stressed and worried this holiday season, we shifted our frame of mind to see stress as an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow, no matter what happens? In the verses below, James encourages God’s people by saying that they will all face trials but if they endure through the challenges that are presented, they will grow in their faith and become stronger than what they were before the trial. Like sandpaper to a rough block of wood, God can use circumstances in our lives to make us more like Him, but we have to see it that way.

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

James 1:2-4 (The Message)
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so that you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Question: When we face tests and challenges in life, how should we react?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
Notice that James doesn’t say “if tests and challenges come at you”, but rather when. True or False: Stress and challenges are a gift.

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
Think back to a time where you felt stressed or challenged in life, or if it’s right now, how did you or are you now cooperating with Him in the work to grow?

 

PRAY… Thank God that trials and tests can be a gift that makes you stronger in Him. Ask Him to help you cooperate with that growth, to push aside any insecurities or road blocks that may hinder your path to keeping your focus on growing in Him, not only during the holiday season, but year-round.

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. Christmas is next week! Does that bring you joy, stress or both?
  2. During this “Home for the Holidays” series, we’ve been discussing how home is a frame of mind, instead of a place and time. How does shifting your frame of mind to seeing stress as an opportunity to cooperate with God to grow, change the emotions and stressors that the holidays bring?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 and Romans 12:18 and discuss the similarities and differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. What can you do this Christmas to take a step forward in this area?
  4. Lee talked this weekend about giving the benefit of the doubt using Ephesians 4:2-4. If you do what these verses say, what relationship would benefit the most in your life right now?
  5. Reflect and share on the times when you have been the most hopeful in your walk with Christ. Who can you invite to a Christmas service to share that same hope in Jesus?

 

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

 

 

LIO for the Week of 12/14: Home for Christmas–Blue Christmas

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

LIO 12/11—Get Curious!

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

FRIDAY—Get Curious!
Big Point: Let wonder be the frame of mind you choose.

Over this week, we’ve looked at a new definition of wonder and how it can be a vital part of our faith. Through the lives of Mary and Joseph, we saw how God was at work in the everyday of Mary’s life, and then in the apparent mess of Joseph’s life, extending an invitation, interrupting what they thought was the plan and offering an option neither could have known was possible. God was, is and always will be at work. Through an angel, He told both of them that they could trust in Him, giving Mary the gift of Elizabeth to provide confirmation and confidence, and to Joseph the reminder of all the prophesies that were fulfilled, essentially His Word. They didn’t know the end of the story, they didn’t know what we know today, yet they chose Him.

In much the same way, we are called to do the same today through Jesus. Jesus did, and continues to do, God’s work. Jesus provides interrupting invitations and options that we can’t know, understand or see. Jesus is faithful and invites us to follow him, through whatever it is in front of us and to live each day ready for his return, or for the call home to heaven. This isn’t our home, and the writer of Hebrews knew how important knowing this was to every believer. Going through the Old Testament’s people of faith, often referred to as the “Faith Hall of Fame”, the verses go on to point out that this earth wasn’t their final stop, that they often felt a longing for more that could only be found in the heavenly home God has prepared for His chosen people (Hebrews 11:11-13). All the more reason that our frame of mind should be to approach each day with the question of wonder, “What will You do today, God?” and then wait expectantly with wonder and hope for the answer.

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (New Living Translation)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Question: Why did Jesus endure the cross and disregard its shame?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
According to these verses, how do we live expectantly?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
What do you need to grow in curiosity about this Christmas season in order to have a hopeful expectation for what God is doing?

 

PRAY… Ask God to give you encouragement with any struggles or challenges you are having and to help you choose wonder and curiosity in Him. Then, set a reminder for today to pray at lunch or mid-afternoon as a way to begin adjusting your frame of mind to that throughout the day.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. When was the last time you either experienced something wonderful or wondered at something? (Examples: a beautiful piece of art, a new baby in the family, technology, something in nature, etc.)
  2. Wonder is associated with this time of year, but often this association creates unrealistic expectations. Ben and Lauren talked this weekend about a different definition of wonder, something that provokes curiosity. What resonated the most with you about this new frame of mind, of curiosity creating wonder, instead of expecting a place and time to be wonderful?
  3. The stories of Mary and Joseph and Jesus’ birth may be familiar, but familiarity can also extinguish curiosity. Read Mary’s story in Luke 1 and discuss how, in the midst of ordinary events in her life, God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness changed everything.
  4. Joseph had a plan for his life, but it fell apart and he was left with a choice. Now read Joseph’s story in Matthew 1 and discuss how his life demonstrated God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness.
  5. Where can you get curious about God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness in your own life?

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

  • Did You Know? In Luke 1:9 it says, As was the custom of the priests, he (Zechariah) was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.” As John Piper shares, “in other words, his name was drawn. And it was a great honor if your name was drawn because many priests would never have their name drawn, never. And, in order to spread it around, it could only happen once in your life. If you had ever done this, offered the burnt incense, you couldn’t do it again. This was then Zachariah’s great moment. This is the pinnacle of his priestly service…” and it’s at this point where the angel speaks to him!
  • Scripture: Read Luke 1 and note how God’s plan for Jesus to come continued to unfold through the birth of John first.
  • Recommended Read: “Manger King: Meditations on Christmas and the Gospel of Hope” by John Greco.

http://www.amazon.com/Manger-King-Meditations-Christmas-Gospel/dp/1627073558

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Weekend Updates!

  • Join Us: Dec. 12/13 for “How-to Avoid Having a Blue Christmas”.
  • Christmas Services: Start planning now for when you, your family and friends will attend. Visit CedarCreek.tv for service dates and times or to send an evite!
  • Celebrate Recovery offers a place for adults and teens to find hope and healing, but starting January 1, CR will now also serve children 5 years old through 6th grade with Celebration Place. Celebration Place will run concurrently with CR and The Landing on Friday nights at all campuses starting at 7pm. At Celebration Place, children will have a place to build a foundation in Christ so they can better stand in the battles and temptations of life. With the addition of Celebration Place on January 1, Celebrate Recovery will now have something for the whole family so that no matter what, every family can embrace God’s amazing grace in life-changing ways.

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Resources Used This Week:

Gty.org

UnlockingtheBible.org

DesiringGod.org

 

The mission of the CedarCreek LivingItOut Bible study is to provide a complementary Monday-Friday study that digs deeper into Scripture and the weekend message topic so we can live out our faith daily in Jesus Christ.

Each week the LivingItOut (LIO) is put together by a team of writers and proofers. Thank you to this week’s team! Interested in serving? Questions or comments about this week’s study? Email MarnaW@CedarCreek.tv

 

LIO 12/10– Joseph’s Wonder

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

THURSDAY– Joseph’s Wonder
Big Point: Joseph received God’s invite to His work when life was a mess.

Have you seen the commercial where the couple shares a brand of gum and the guy keeps all the wrappers to propose? He draws pictures on each to represent their courtship, then frames and hangs them in order, with him at the end with a ring. It is touching, romantic whimsy, even for us today, but not at all reflective of the engagements of Mary and Joseph’s day.

At that time, most marriages were arranged by the bride’s and groom’s families. Often the first time the couple would have seen each other was at their betrothal, a solemn and purposeful commitment ceremony which involved an actual contract that could not be broken, except by divorce. After the betrothal year was up, the couple had a marriage ceremony and began to live together and have sexual relations. But, it’s during this time that God had worked a miracle and made Mary, a virgin and Joseph’s betrothed, conceive a child.

This is quite a dilemma for Joseph, who at this point only has Mary’s story. After 400 years of God’s silence, this is not so likely in Joseph’s mind, but he’s a good man and cares for Mary, so he decides to divorce her quietly and get out of this mess; but, that was not God’s plan. The interruption in Joseph’s plans comes in a dream that confirms Mary’s story. As Dietrich Bonheoffer, pastor, says, “The Christian’s job is to listen to God and care about what God says above all else in every moment.” For Joseph, that meant accepting a pregnant woman as his wife, based on the words of the angel in his dream, and his confidence in God’s faithfulness through the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 7 and referred to in what the angel told him.

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

Matthew 1:20-24 (New Living Translation), parentheses added
20 As he considered this [breaking the engagement], an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 

Question: Joseph had decided to divorce Mary; what changed after his dream?

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
If God calls you to a difficult task, are you willing to respond without question?

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
Do you regularly create space for God to speak into your life? Why or why not?

 

Are you willing for God to interrupt your schedule to do what is important to Him, and make it important to you, whether it appears messy or not?

 

PRAYThank God for wanting to use you. Ask Him to help you create space to hear His instruction, and then make space to do it regardless of what you had planned.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. When was the last time you either experienced something wonderful or wondered at something? (Examples: a beautiful piece of art, a new baby in the family, technology, something in nature, etc.)
  2. Wonder is associated with this time of year, but often this association creates unrealistic expectations. Ben and Lauren talked this weekend about a different definition of wonder, something that provokes curiosity. What resonated the most with you about this new frame of mind, of curiosity creating wonder, instead of expecting a place and time to be wonderful?
  3. The stories of Mary and Joseph and Jesus’ birth may be familiar, but familiarity can also extinguish curiosity. Read Mary’s story in Luke 1 and discuss how, in the midst of ordinary events in her life, God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness changed everything.
  4. Joseph had a plan for his life, but it fell apart and he was left with a choice. Now read Joseph’s story in Matthew 1 and discuss how his life demonstrated God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness.
  5. Where can you get curious about God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness in your own life?

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Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

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December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

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Take Another Step

  • Did You Know? In Luke 1:9 it says, As was the custom of the priests, he (Zechariah) was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.” As John Piper shares, “in other words, his name was drawn. And it was a great honor if your name was drawn because many priests would never have their name drawn, never. And, in order to spread it around, it could only happen once in your life. If you had ever done this, offered the burnt incense, you couldn’t do it again. This was then Zachariah’s great moment. This is the pinnacle of his priestly service…” and it’s at this point where the angel speaks to him!
  • Scripture: Read Luke 1 and note how God’s plan for Jesus to come continued to unfold through the birth of John first.
  • Recommended Read: “Manger King: Meditations on Christmas and the Gospel of Hope” by John Greco.

http://www.amazon.com/Manger-King-Meditations-Christmas-Gospel/dp/1627073558

LIO 12/9—Mary’s Wonder

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

WEDNESDAY—Mary’s Wonder
Big Point: Mary received God’s invite in the middle of her everyday.

What do you think of when you think of Jesus’ mother Mary? For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is the manger scene, with Mary holding baby Jesus close. But what about Mary’s everyday life—what would it have been like?

The reality is that her whole existence was already planned out. In the culture at that time, custom would have dictated that she be married at an early age, to a man chosen by her family, so it was planned that she marry Joseph. Then it was expected that she would bear children, boys, who would continue the family line and provide economic strength and physical protection for the family. Secure, stable, everyday, Mary was preparing to be a wife and mother. There was nothing particularly awe-inspiring about the life she was marrying into, but little did she know that God’s plan was so much bigger!

It’s in the middle of her everyday that an angel visits Mary and tells her that God chose her to be a part of His extraordinary plan to save humanity. As we read in Luke, Mary is a great example of accepting the invitation. She responded with a servant’s heart, with no questions as to what this would do to disrupt her quiet, safe and planned life. She trusted God’s plan instead, and said yes to the interrupting invitation He extended to her. Her obedience was the first step toward the salvation of mankind—think of the awe and wonder that must have caused!

 

READ IT… What does the Bible say?

Luke 1:31-38 (New Living Translation)
31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 2 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.”38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

Question: After 400 years of silence, an angel appears to Mary and not only tells her what will happen, he also offers her a sign as proof. What was the sign and what did it prove? (verses 36-37)

Answer:

 

BELIEVE IT… What is the lesson for me?
True or False: I receive God’s interrupting invitation with a servant’s heart.

 

LIVE IT… What will I do now?
How can you be ready to step out of your everyday, with a servant’s heart, and be ready for anything God asks of you this Christmas season?

 

PRAY… Thank God for blessing you with interrupting invitations. Ask Him to give you the courage to step out with a heart for serving Him in any capacity He chooses.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

line break

Weekend Message Discussion Questions
Catching a meal after the service? Meeting with friends this week? Discuss the weekend message together:

  1. When was the last time you either experienced something wonderful or wondered at something? (Examples: a beautiful piece of art, a new baby in the family, technology, something in nature, etc.)
  2. Wonder is associated with this time of year, but often this association creates unrealistic expectations. Ben and Lauren talked this weekend about a different definition of wonder, something that provokes curiosity. What resonated the most with you about this new frame of mind, of curiosity creating wonder, instead of expecting a place and time to be wonderful?
  3. The stories of Mary and Joseph and Jesus’ birth may be familiar, but familiarity can also extinguish curiosity. Read Mary’s story in Luke 1 and discuss how, in the midst of ordinary events in her life, God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness changed everything.
  4. Joseph had a plan for his life, but it fell apart and he was left with a choice. Now read Joseph’s story in Matthew 1 and discuss how his life demonstrated God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness.
  5. Where can you get curious about God’s work, God’s interrupting invitations and God’s faithfulness in your own life?

line break

Bible Reading Plan

Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you! CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.

line break

December 2015 Memory Verse:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

line break

Take Another Step

  • Did You Know? In Luke 1:9 it says, As was the custom of the priests, he (Zechariah) was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.” As John Piper shares, “in other words, his name was drawn. And it was a great honor if your name was drawn because many priests would never have their name drawn, never. And, in order to spread it around, it could only happen once in your life. If you had ever done this, offered the burnt incense, you couldn’t do it again. This was then Zachariah’s great moment. This is the pinnacle of his priestly service…” and it’s at this point where the angel speaks to him!
  • Scripture: Read Luke 1 and note how God’s plan for Jesus to come continued to unfold through the birth of John first.
  • Recommended Read: “Manger King: Meditations on Christmas and the Gospel of Hope” by John Greco.

http://www.amazon.com/Manger-King-Meditations-Christmas-Gospel/dp/1627073558

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Deeper Study

2016 Memory Verses

Crazy In Love Series
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other."
Romans 12:10

Awaken Series
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:14b

Past Memory Verses

Click here to download the 2015 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2014 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2013 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2012 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2011 Memory Verses.