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Bible Study

LIO 2/17 – The Great Exchange: Sky’s the Limit!

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The God who created, names and numbers the stars in the heavens also numbers the stars of my head. He pays attention to very big things and to very small ones. What matters to me matters to Him, and that changes my life.

-Elisabeth Elliot

Doubt is like a disease that infects the mind. It poisons the heart and calls into question everything that you believe about God. Have you ever doubted God? Most of us have. It often comes in the low times, periods of time during which we wonder if God is really there for us.

In scripture, Abraham is considered a model of faith and his faith was counted as righteousness (Genesis 3:6). He exudes confidence in God. This man walked his son, Isaac, up a mountain and then prepared to sacrifice him to God (Genesis 22: 1-19). Abraham deeply loved his son, but in obedience to God, he would sacrifice his one and only son. As Abraham raised the knife to pierce Isaac’s chest, God stopped him and provided a ram. Abraham’s faith and trust in God outweighed his understanding.

This piece of biblical history is made even more astounding when you consider God’s promise to Abraham. Earlier in Abraham’s life, God promised him a son. He revealed this to Abraham in a vision, but when it didn’t happen on Abraham’s time table, his faith waned. He stumbled, started to doubt and projected what he thought would happen. He said, “Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir” (Genesis 15:2-3). This statement directly contradicted God’s promise.

How often do we do this? We fear, doubt and grasp at control in order to make things happen our way. It is only through faith and the surrender of control to God that we stay on track. He makes our path straight.

So, how did God get Abraham back on track? God showed him the night sky. Honestly. Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:5). God showed him the vastness of the night sky, the innumerable stars…the kind of sky you see away from the light pollution of the city.

God fulfilled His promise. He provided Abraham with one son, the very one He asked Abraham to sacrifice! But this time, Abraham’s faith was righteous and the doubt was weeded out. Through Isaac, God multiplied the descendants of Abraham.

If you’ve read any of the New Testament, you know that God didn’t stop there. He wasn’t finished multiplying blessings through the gift of one son. This time, it was His own son. Like Adam said this weekend, “When you are part of something BIGGER than YOUR TENT, the SKY is the LIMIT!” If you find yourself in a place where your faith is thin, look to the one that can fulfill all your hopes, dreams and more. Let God lead you outside your tent. Stare up into the night sky at millions of stars representing the endless possibilities that only He can bring. He is faithful!

 

MONDAY — Clarifying the Vision

Big Point: God’s vision is multiplication, so this should be our vision, too!

Here’s a fun question to start off your Monday morning: Would you rather be given a million dollars right now OR be given one cent and double your money each day for 30 days? While a million dollars is a lot of money, you’d severely regret choosing that option.

As it turns out, if you start out with JUST ONE PENNY and double the amount each day for 30 days, the final amount is an astonishing $10,737,418.24. (We didn’t believe it at first, so we did the math and it’s true!) Of course, if anyone decides to do this exercise with actual cash, let us know!

While many Americans think that pennies are insignificant and useless, this math exercise demonstrates the idea that what starts out small can turn into something HUGE! Just because you are one person, it doesn’t mean that God can’t use you to make a SIGNIFICANT difference in our world.

God’s vision is multiplication. At varying points in scripture, God commands people to multiply. Adam and Eve were told to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) and after the flood destroyed the rest of the human population, Noah received the command to multiply as well (Genesis 9:1). It’s always been in God’s heart to create a world filled with sons and daughters who would love Him eternally.

Yet, Satan’s greatest fear is multiplication and he strives to destroy any efforts to duplicate anything that God loves. Jesus contrasts Satan’s missions against his in John 10:10: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Like that solitary penny, you can be the catalyst that starts something bigger than you could ever imagine…

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?

1. When God created Adam and Eve in His image, humans became able to transfer what they had received from God. When God commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply”, this was considered a blessing and inheritance from God.

Question: In addition to multiplying numerically, what other relational or emotional qualities would Adam and Eve multiply through their children? (Think about the best things that we bring to each of our relationships with each other.)

Genesis 1:28 (New Living Translation)

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Answer:

 

 

2. Matthew 4 describes Jesus’ calling the twelve men who would become his disciples. The following scene describes Jesus calling several of those disciples as well as a vision for the spread of the gospel.

Question: In this passage, Jesus gives the men a vision greater than the job they are performing. What is so compelling about being a “fisher of men” that gives us tremendous purpose and drive?

Matthew 4:18-20 (New Living Translation)

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Answer:

 

 

3. After Jesus’ ascension, the believers in the early church did a great job drawing in new believers. There were a lot of ways that those new people were drawn into this community. As believers, we should model their example.

Question: Read Acts 2:42, 44, 46-47 and explain how the results in verse 47 were a natural outcome of the activities described in verses 42-46.

Acts 2:42, 44, 46-47 (New Living Translation)

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Answer:

 

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

It’s easy for us to be really comfortable hanging out at CedarCreek each week. Sometimes, it’s good for us to remember just how many people around us really don’t know Christ. List up to three people in each of these “spheres” of your life who don’t know Christ:

WORK:
1.
2.
3.

HOME:
1.
2.
3.

FRIENDS:
1.
2.
3.

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?

Reflect on the names you just listed. Even though you are one person, God can use YOU to change their lives. Ask God to help you see the opportunities.

Digging 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.

LIO for the Week of 2/17: The Sky is the Limit

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LIO 2/14 – The Blank Pages

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FRIDAY—The Blank Pages

Big Point: The greatest stories are yet to be told.

A single church cannot solve the world’s problems, but God can. God can use His church to help rewrite the most impossible of stories, just like the ones you’ve heard over the last 5 weeks.

Last week, we showed a story from Yuzvitza. At 13 years old, she has always had to struggle with not having enough food or clothing. Her house was unsafe and her bed was falling apart. However, because of the efforts of our ministry partners in Honduras, Great Commission Latin America (GCLA), her life has radically changed. Not only have her physical needs been met, but she has also been taught about her true savior, Jesus Christ. She said, “I told God thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the CDI (Children’s Development Center). And for giving us the chance to live one more day…Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family. Thank you.”

Think about the thousands of stories that are yet to be told. The last pages of the Beyond Ourselves book you received were blank. What great story might God put in there next? What is your role in this? What does it look like for you to truly live the rest of your life Beyond Yourself?

 

READ, THINK, and LIVE. Read and apply the Bible.

1. We have used this verse more than any other in the last 5 weeks because it is a call to action from Jesus himself. As you probably know by now, these verses are commonly known as the Great Commission. Jesus gave this mission statement to his disciples and it still applies today. Today, it is up to the church to carry it out.

Question: Why do you think Jesus made sure that the disciples were aware he would always be with them when he sent them out to accomplish The Great Commission?

Do you feel more confident in your role with his assurance to be with you? When do you most easily feel Jesus’ presence in your life?

Matthew 28:18-20 (New Living Translation)

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Answer:

 

 

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Ask God what your role in the Great Commission is supposed to be. Thank Him for the opportunity to play your part and make a difference in the lives of others by spreading the gospel. Pray that others will do the same.

Questions for Discussion— Try these in a group, with friends or at the dinner table.

1. What does it mean to live beyond yourself? How does one live in the upper story as opposed to the lower story? How does one become kingdom minded as opposed to earthly minded?

2. The goal for the Beyond Ourselves Initiative is $25 million. That is truly a God sized goal! If completely funded, 65% of these resources would go toward our church, 23% would go toward our community and 12% would go toward our country and our world. How would these resources allow CedarCreek to do the greatest good that it’s ever done and make the greatest impact that it’s ever had?

3. Read the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. What stands out to you in this story and why do you think the master responded so harshly to the last servant?

4. What would it mean to you to hear God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant”? If you died and went to judgment right now, do you think God would say this to you? Why or why not?

5. What does it mean to live in the Impact Zone as opposed to the Comfort Zone? Read Matthew 25:31-40 to help with your answer!

6. What has challenged you the most during the 5 week Beyond Ourselves Initiative? What has inspired you the most? Finally, what are a few takeaways you will hold on to from what you’ve learned and/or experienced?

 

February 2014 Memory Verse:

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

1 Timothy 6:17 (New Living Translation)

Digging 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.

Weekend Updates!

  • Saturday’s Daily Bible Reading Plan: February 15—Mark 1:29-45
  • Next Week at CedarCreek: Next weekend special guest speaker Adam Davis from Elevate Church in Monroe, Michigan will be speaking. His message is called “The Sky Is The Limit”. We hope you’ll make plans to attend at any of our four locations or check out our iCampus at CedarCreek.tv
  • The Big Give Weekend on February 22 and 23rd: Our goal is to receive $800,000 of the Beyond commitments in one weekend. This will get the Findlay Campus going and help CoastCity Church open in time for Easter. Challenge yourself to go Beyond and pray about how you might personally be willing to help.
  • Celebrate Recovery: Find freedom from your hurts, habits and hang ups. Celebrate Recovery happens on Friday evenings at all campuses. www.cedarcreek.tv/celebraterecovery

Cedarville Weekend Recap:

John 6:9-11

9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” 10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.

It’s very easy to think about the things we want, but God teaches us that when we are generous, we can make a HUGE difference helping people in our church, our neighborhood and in the whole world!

Scripture: This week we talked about how Jesus fed 5,000 (John 6:1-14). Read the whole chapter with your family.

Questions:

  • Why do you think Jesus wanted to feed the 5,000 families?
  • What do you think the little boy was feeling when he saw Jesus use his gift for the miracle?
  • What does this story tell you about Jesus?

Family Activity: God did a miracle. There was only a little bit of food, but somehow God turned it into enough to feed many people! As a family, act out John 6:1-14. Use props such as bread and gold ”fish” to deliver just how powerful God was and still is. Videotape your performance and upload it onto CedarVille’s Facebook page for others to enjoy.

Memory Verse: 1 Timothy 6:17— (Wave finger) Teach those who are rich in this world (shake head and wave hands back and forth as if saying “no”) not to be proud (pretend to rub money in your right hand) and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. (Sign “God” by sliding an open hand down the center of your face) Their trust should be in God, (sign “all” by placing one flat hand inside the other palm, then scooping it around as if scraping out the inside of a bowl) who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

*Have your child memorize this verse and recite it to the room teacher for a prize.

*For a prize, remind your child to tell their room teacher the memory verse as soon as they return to church next week.

Living It Out

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 lukes@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:

YahooSports.com

Rick Warren’s How To Invest Your Life

Biblegateway.com

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:

Alyssa Baker

Kaila Mugford

Luke Shortridge

JoAnna Studer

LIO 2/13 – If I Use My Talents, I Will be Rewarded

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

THURSDAY—If I Use My Talents, I Will be Rewarded

Big Point: An eternal return is well worth the investment.

I am never happier in the Lord than when I am in a bedroom with a sick person.

—Smith Wigglesworth

Early 20th century evangelist

 

What will the reward system in heaven look like? Many theories exist, but there are several inarguable points that can be inferred from the parable of the talents. According to Rick Warren:

This is the test. This is why you’re here on earth. The rewards: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things—I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21) Based on this passage, God promises three rewards:

  1. Affirmation. “Well done.” I can’t think of anything better than to stand before Jesus Christ and have him say, “Good job, Rick. Good job! You really tried!”
  2. Promotion. He says, “I’m going to give you greater responsibility. You’ve been faithful with little things; I’ll trust you with more.” God can’t trust many of us with great blessings because we’re not faithful with the little.
  3. Celebration. He says, “Come and share your master’s happiness.” The happiest people I know are those who are using what they have for God. (Taken from Rick Warren’s “How to Invest Your Life”)

When God performs an audit on your life—and it is coming—will it show a profit or a loss? Is He going to say, “Well done!” or “Lazy servant!”? What is it going to show? Now is the time to act, not tomorrow, in a week or a month from now. Investing your life for an eternal return is one payoff you can’t afford to lose out on!

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. Those who do much with what they are given will be given praise, more responsibilities and a celebration. God rejoices when we succeed!

Question: What would it mean to you to stand before Jesus and hear these words?

Matthew 25:21 (New Living Translation)

The master was full of praise. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

Answer:

 

 

2. If you look at the context of this scripture, you will see that it does not describe salvation through works, but instead that our deeds reveal our hearts within. God will reward those who live their lives to glorify Him.

Question: Why is it so important to live a life to serve others and give God the glory?

Romans 2:6-8 (New Living Translation)

6He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

Answer:

 

 

3. Heaven is the only prize that will never fade away. Invest your entire life. Be as disciplined as an athlete is disciplined in his or her training. Then, your spiritual investment will help win an eternal prize!

Question: What is the difference between an earthly prize and a heavenly one? Why is the heavenly prize far superior?

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (New Living Translation)

24Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Answer:

 

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

If God were to audit your life today, what would He come across? What do you need to repent for in your life? What do you need to do today to turn things around?

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no other time to act than NOW. What steps will you take today to invest your life for the glory of God’s kingdom?

 

 

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Thank God for your life and everything in it. Now spend some time mentally giving it all back to Him. Lay your life at His feet. Commit to God that you want to invest your time and energy into giving Him glory. Thank Him for the prize of eternal life, which He has freely given to you.

Digging 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.

LIO 2/12 – The Temptation to Bury Talents

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

WEDNESDAY – The Temptation to Bury Talents

Big Point: When it comes to doing the work of God, give it your all!

I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.

–Rick Warren

Jim Collins has famously said, “good is the enemy of great.” In his book Good to Great, he studied why some companies make the leap from good companies to great companies, while others do not. In the book he says, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” Collins is talking about principles that guide companies and business organizations, but it is a useful lesson for our lives. And, it’s a useful lesson for churches. In the church world, there is a huge temptation to settle for “good enough”.

People don’t usually strive for excellence within the church. They strive for comfort. They strive to feel good about themselves, not to push themselves toward making an eternal impact. Everyone is guilty of this from time to time. We get comfortable. We don’t push ourselves quite as hard as we might for God’s Kingdom. For that, we need God to refocus our priorities.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), it should not be overlooked that the strongest language in the story is directed at the man who buried his money out of fear. It wasn’t that he acted foolishly with the money, he just didn’t act! He let his fear of the master paralyze him. He stayed comfortable and refused to take a risk. And, the result was disastrous.

One of the key values of CedarCreek is excellence. Being content with the status quo means missing opportunities to do the work of God. At CedarCreek, we want to push the limits of outreach, discipleship, the arts and more because we feel that it best honors God! We never want to take the attitude “It’s just church. It’s good enough.” We feel that God deserves our very best and nothing less!

Comfort can stop God’s progress in your life! Don’t let fear get in the way of allowing God to use you in big, bold ways. Don’t bury your talents, put them to use!

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. Hebrews, chapter 11 is known as “The Faith Chapter” or the “Faith Hall of Fame”. It contains multiple examples of men and women in the Old Testament who acted faithfully. As Hebrews 11:6 points out, God rewards faith accordingly.

Question: How does burying one’s talents really show a lack of faith in God?

Hebrews 11:6 (New Living Translation)

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Answer:

 

 

2. The book of Exodus outlines just how the Israelites were to offer animal sacrifices to God. They needed to be the very best from the flock as opposed to a sickly or weak animal. God did not want them to go through the empty ritual of sacrifice without really giving Him their best.

Question: Why do you believe God wanted the best animal from the flock? Why does God deserve your very best?

Exodus 12:5 (New Living Translation)

The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects.

Answer:

 

 

3. The language used for the third servant is severe. Especially when you consider that he didn’t lose any money! But, it reflects how God feels about those that don’t use the resources He has given them wisely. Just like the three servants, one day all people will give an account for how they invested their lives.

Question: Why is God so severe with the third servant?

Matthew 25:26-27 (New Living Translation)

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.”

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

What are the most common reasons people give for not investing the resources, time and abilities with which God has blessed them? Have you ever fallen into any of these traps?

 

 

 

 

 

Explain why it is better to take a risk for God that ultimately fails, as opposed to just staying comfortable. Is there anything in your life right now that God is currently calling you to step out of your comfort zone and do?

 

 

 

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Thank God for the many ways He has blessed you. Ask for the strength to use your resources, time and abilities wisely for His Kingdom. Pray for strength in the areas you are currently weak and to have the courage to step out in faith. Tell God that you resolve to choose action over comfort.

Digging 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.

LIO 2/11 – Investing Your Life

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

TUESDAY—Investing Your Life

Big Point: Make your life count by transitioning toward eternal investments.

You must keep all earthly treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart.

-Charles Spurgeon

Pastor Rick Warren has stated that there are three basic ways to approach life: You can waste it, spend it or invest it. Sometimes, it seems like our society is bent on giving everyone the opportunity to waste their life. How many opportunities are there throughout your day to just blow an hour here or there? Some people, though, do set goals to spend their life on their careers, hobbies or gaining possessions. Many of the things we could spend our life on are noble pursuits, but if we follow the example of Jesus, we can see that we are meant to invest our lives. Jesus taught us to invest our lives in something that will outlast it.

Pastor Warren points out that God has given every person gifts, talents, skills, abilities, experiences, personality traits and temperaments; all to make unique individuals. There is no one else like you anywhere and you are here for a purpose AND God wants to you invest your unique abilities in His Kingdom.

Currently, with our Beyond Ourselves series, CedarCreek is reenergizing efforts to help people find ways to invest their unique talents in lasting efforts. Some mistakenly believe CedarCreek is all about getting money from people and entertaining them with light hearted, feel good versions of a watered-down gospel. However, it’s not about the money, but instead it’s about ministry. The church is really about converting people in the following ways:

Consumer to Contributor,

Observer to Participant,

Prideful to Humble,

Selfish to Selfless,

Self-Willed to God’s Will,

Comfort Zone to Impact Zone.

These goals reflect CedarCreek’s plan to help people invest, not just waste or spend their lives. It is possible to experience anonymity at CedarCreek; an attendee could skip around to various service times for months or years and not be recognized. However, there comes a point when one must decide to go from an observer to a participant. Rather than just “taking it all in” one must decide to contribute.

If you are serious about investing your life, it means becoming more like Jesus. When we take a look at Jesus’ life on earth, we see him focus on others, not himself. Jesus is our perfect model for living beyond the self.

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. Most scholars believe these verses were part of an early church hymn, memorized by Christians to ensure everyone understood the truth about Jesus.

Question: According to these verses, how is Jesus the ultimate model for showing us how to invest our lives?

Philippians 2:6-8 (New Living Translation)

6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8  he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Answer:

 

 

2. Ephesians 2:8-9 is an often quoted Bible passage, but many times verse 10 is left out. It provides important biblical information about what to do once someone has accepted God’s grace.

Question: At what point did you receive God’s grace? (Look at verse 8). For what purpose were you given the gift of salvation? (Look at verse 10).

Ephesians 2:8-10 (New Living Translation)

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 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.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

Spend some time thinking of your life investments. Which of the following transitions need to take place the most in your life?

Consumer to Contributor,

Observer to Participant,

Prideful to Humble,

Selfish to Selfless,

Self-Willed to God’s Will,

Comfort Zone to Impact Zone

List your top three and write down some specific activities you could do to achieve these transitions.

 

 

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Try praying this prayer today, “Dear Lord, help me search for a way to invest my life. I want to give my life in service to something that will last beyond my time on Earth. Help me to transition from observer to participant. Help me leave the comfort zone and enter the impact zone. Amen.”

Digging 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.

LIO 2/10 – Beyond Ourselves, Impact Zone

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

Beyond Ourselves is about doing the greatest good we’ve ever done, the greatest impact we’ve ever made.

–Lee Powell, Senior Pastor of CedarCreek Church

On Sunday, February 2nd of 2014, millions of Americans tuned into watch one of the most lopsided football games in Super Bowl history. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8. What many Americans didn’t see however, was just how Peyton Manning, the losing quarterback, handled himself after the loss.

Dan Wetzel wrote an article for Yahoo Sports about the postgame. About to head to the locker room, after giving a press conference where he was asked if he thought he’d been “embarrassed out there,” Peyton heard the voice of a 25-year-old beer vendor named Steve Lopez. The man respectfully asked for an autograph. Peyton told him, “Not right now but when I come back this way, I will.”

Wetzel writes, “At some point, though, at some level, what really matters about a man is how he treats people who hold no leverage over him, let alone how he treats those people in moments of tumult when it would be quite understandable if he just ignored the request.”

Peyton did sign the man’s autograph when he came back. He signed quite a few others as well. There is something inspiring about this. There is something that tugs at our heart strings to think about the defeated MVP, thinking of his fans. Selfless actions like this tend to stand out. Jesus said that selfless love, perhaps like Peyton showed, would be rewarded.

During the Beyond Ourselves Initiative, we’ve reviewed the parable of the three servants found in Matthew 25. If you remember from previous weeks, the English word “talent” comes from this parable. A talent was a measurement of weight and in this case, it measured money. The parable shows that those who have been blessed with resources from God need to invest those resources wisely.

Do you remember what comes directly after this parable? Jesus begins speaking about the Final Judgment. When he returns one day, he will judge the nations, separating the righteous from the unrighteous. It is a troubling section of scripture, full of anguish and regret by those who are rejected by him. In this teaching, the rejected ones are those that treated others poorly.

Don’t misunderstand, scripture is clear that salvation comes through faith alone (see Mark 16:16, John 11:25, Ephesians 2:8) but how we treat others, especially the powerless, reflects our inward heart condition. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Did you catch that? As you act towards the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the sick and more, you act toward Jesus. The standard used by Jesus in the Final Judgment will be based on how people treated others.

That is why CedarCreek is so passionate about the Beyond Ourselves Initiative. It is not about increased giving, it is about increased ministry. It is about doing the greatest amount of good possible and making the biggest impact we’ve ever had locally, regionally and across the world. It is about living beyond yourself and operating in the upper story as opposed to the lower story.

MONDAY – It’s Not About Money, It’s About Ministry

Big Point: God has given us privileges so we can serve everyone and be a light so He can receive the glory.

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; Where your treasure is, there is your heart; Where your heart is, there is your happiness.

—Augustine

The ocean waters surrounding the state of Alaska are some of the darkest in the United States. During the stampede of the gold rush in the late 1800s, a ship heading toward shore ran aground or wrecked every day. In 1900, Congress appropriated $100,000 to build lighthouses and light stations to save sailors from the dangerous reefs and rocks. That’s $2.2 million in today’s economy!

The Bible instructs Christians to let their lights shine for the world to see. Like the early lighthouse keepers, there is no one more important to those sailing around in the darkness than the church striving to be the light of the world. However, these beacons of light need money and resources to stay lit. To achieve maximum brightness, the first lights were filled with kerosene, with wicks trimmed and the brass and copper were polished daily. This maintenance cost was beyond the initial investment meant to save the ships from the perils of the rocky shoals.

When God takes an account of our lives, He is going to determine how we spent our resources, time and treasures. As Americans, we have freedoms and privileges not found in most corners of the world. With these privileges comes responsibility. Are you ready for God to determine that you have been dependable with what He has given you?

As we head into the fifth week of the Beyond Ourselves initiative, remember that it is about serving everyone, from the greatest to the least, to show them the love of Christ so they can receive the Gospel. CedarCreek is determined to invest what God has given us to further build His Kingdom. It is not about raising money, it is about raising the current level of ministry at the ‘Creek, to let our lights shine in the darkness so God can receive the ultimate glory!

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1.After separating the nations, during the Final Judgment, Jesus reveals that how you treat people on this earth has eternal consequences! Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the sick and more should be priorities.

Question: How does Jesus’ answer reflect the importance of serving all people? How does this put the Beyond Ourselves initiative in perspective?

Matthew 25:40 (New Living Translation)

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Answer:

 

 

2. Jesus wants us to live in such a way that when people see our actions, they recognize something so extraordinary and start to give credit to God.

Question: What investments or sacrifices do you plan to make that will give light to those around you?

Matthew 5:15-16 (New Living Translation)

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Answer:

 

 

3. The disciples were instructed to go everywhere to be witnesses of Jesus, but they stayed until persecution spread them out.

Question: How does this indicate Jesus’ desire for us to be messengers and not simply bask in the comforts of Christian community? How does the Beyond Ourselves initiative answer Jesus’ instructions?

Acts 1:8 (New Living Translation)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

How does the Beyond Ourselves initiative make us a more effective light? As ministry is raised, what can you specifically see God doing in our families, communities, nation and even world?

 

 

 

 

How has God equipped and prepared you to be a light in this world? How has He strategically placed you (i.e. time, money, location) to further His Kingdom?

 

 

 

 

If He took an account of your life today, would God say you have used what He has given you responsibly? How can you be a better steward of your resources?

 

 

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Thank God for the privileges He has given you and pray for guidance in how to use them to further His Kingdom. Praise Him because you are part of a church that takes serving others, from the greatest to the least, seriously!

Digging 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.

LIO for the Week of 2/10: Impact Zone

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

LIO 2/7 – Educate the Next Generation

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

FRIDAY—Educate the Next Generation

Big Point: You can help with the problem of illiteracy!

Today’s intro was written by Patrick C. Hickey, Washington Local Schools Superintendent:

Illiteracy is a nationwide problem that can be solved. Educational research repeatedly shows that kids who are not reading by the 3rd grade suffer for the rest of their educational careers and for the rest of their lives in a multitude of ways.

As with all major social problems, the cure is not simply found at the school house door. The Washington Local Schools have studied a successful community/school model in Fort Worth Texas entitled Read2Win. Their website is: http://www.tarrantnet.org/read2win/

The key to Read2Win is a true school and community partnership. The Washington Local Schools have been very successful in raising literacy rates. However, due to 57% of our kids living in poverty and Toledo being the 8th poorest community in the nation, many of our kids are very transient and move multiple times during their school years. Research is undeniable that poverty has a direct correlation to literacy and to negative educational impact. Over the last four years we have had 4,000 kids transfer in and out of our 7,000 student school district. This transient mobility is terribly damaging to their education and to literacy.

We are developing a program where our 1st graders who are struggling would benefit from assistance from a caring, well trained and dedicated volunteer. Too often programs just have a volunteer read to a student. While this reading is a good thing, the program we are developing will be very prescriptive and the volunteer will work with struggling readers with sound spelling, sight words, leveled reading, targeted intervention, etc. We are in the midst of developing the program and great programs require time and effort to be effective. When we finish researching, writing and vetting the program, then we will need volunteers. Volunteers will work an hour per week with a struggling reader and will be comprehensively trained. You don’t need prior experience, we will teach you all you need to know. You must bring the most important thing and that is love. You will have the opportunity to truly have a life changing, life affirming and eternal impact in the life of a child. We will be developing this program during the coming months and we hope this time offers you the opportunity to search yourself and decide if this is something you can fully commit to undertaking. This will be an hour a week, but it will be imperative that the volunteer is able to commit for an extended period of time. The kids we are working with need love, commitment, and stability. Too often people come in and out of their lives and we try to stem that tide. An added benefit is that the Washington Local Schools were recently named the region’s Top Workplace, so you are coming to a wonderful, loving and beautiful place to work and volunteer. Stay tuned over the next few months for more details on how to volunteer for the Read2Win program! PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do? Today, prayerfully consider what God might be calling you to do in regard to helping educate the next generation. Also, please pray that Read2Win is a huge success and God provides plenty of volunteers in the Northwest Ohio Area!

 

Questions for Discussion— Try these in a group, with friends or at the dinner table.

1. Think back to the powerful stories you heard this past weekend (Mischelle, Natalie and Luce). Which one stood out to you the most and what was God whispering to you through what they shared?

2. God calls us to help the poor, but what exactly does that mean? Who would you consider “poor”? Does helping the poor exclusively mean giving money? Why or why not?

3. How would you respond to someone that says, “We shouldn’t give money to help those in other countries because we have plenty of problems to take care of right here, locally”?

4. What role do you believe the Church should play in regards to caring for the sick and hurting? Do you find it easy to care for these people or is it generally difficult for you?

5. Do you feel any personal responsibility towards educating the next generation? What about the Read2Win project excites you? Do you believe you would enjoy volunteering to help stop illiteracy? Why or why not?

 

February 2014 Memory Verse:

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

1 Timothy 6:17 (New Living Translation)

Digging 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.

Weekend Updates!

  • Saturday’s Daily Bible Reading Plan: February 8—Matthew 26:1-46
  • Living Beyond Yourself: Next weekend Senior Pastor Lee Powell will conclude the Beyond Ourselves series with a message entitled, “Impact Zone”. We hope you’ll make plans to attend at any of our four locations or check out our iCampus at CedarCreek.tv
  • The Big Give Weekend: Our goal is to receive $800,000 of the Beyond commitments in one weekend. This will get the Findlay Campus going and help CoastCity Church open in time for Easter. Challenge yourself to go Beyond and pray about how you might personally be willing to help.
  • Celebrate Recovery: Find freedom from your hurts, habits and hang ups. Celebrate Recovery happens on Friday evenings at all campuses.

 

Cedarville Weekend Recap:

Luke 10:34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

It is very easy to think about the things we want, but God teaches us that when we are generous, we can make a HUGE difference helping people in our church, our neighborhood and in the whole world. We can all learn the Bright Idea: I LIVE TO GIVE!

Scripture:

This week we heard a story Jesus told about a man who was very generous to a complete stranger. Read “The Good Samaritan” from Luke 10:30-37.

Questions:

  • What happened when the first two people walked by the injured man?
  • What did the Samaritan man do to help (verses 34-35)?

Family Activity:

Pray for opportunities to help strangers, then be intentional about responding to the situations in front of you. Here are some ideas:

  • Hold the door for someone you don’t know.
  • Pick up trash someone else left on the ground.
  • Offer to help carry someone else’s groceries to their car.

Each time you or your child is helpful, remind them that they are living out the Bright Idea for this series…I LIVE TO GIVE!

Memory Verse:

1 Timothy 6:17— (Wave finger) Teach those who are rich in this world (shake head and wave hands back and forth as if saying “no”) not to be proud (pretend to rub money in your right hand) and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. (Sign “God” by sliding an open hand down the center of your face) Their trust should be in God, (sign “all” by placing one flat hand inside the other palm, then scooping it around as if scraping out the inside of a bowl) who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. *Have your child memorize this verse and recite it to the room teacher for a prize.

Living It Out

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 lukes@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:

Pointsoflight.org

Biblegateway.com

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:

Kaye Althaus

Kevin Moore

Luke Shortridge

Kailey Walkup

Rankin Walkup

Nicki Zunnoor

LIO 2/6 – Care for the Sick

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

THURSDAY—Care for the Sick

Big Point: God’s healing works through us when we care for the sick.

I am never happier in the Lord than when I am in a bedroom with a sick person.

—Smith Wigglesworth, Early 20th century

Humans crave interaction and touch. It’s comforting, reassuring and can even be healing. Premature twins have even been shown to do better when placed next to each other in the NICU. There’s something essential about human touch and interaction.

Imagine how it would feel to be cut off from all human touch and interaction. The disease of leprosy did just that. It separated the person from all human contact. Those infected with leprosy were required to announce that they were unclean any time they were in a public area. They were not permitted to touch others, or even to enter the temple to worship. They were cut off physically, relationally and spiritually from all of society.

Today, many forms of leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) are treatable and often curable. But, many other diseases still cause people to be isolated in their hospital rooms. Insecurities also prevent people from forming healthy, meaningful relationships. Whatever the “sickness” is, many find themselves cut off from valuable, life-giving relationships.

How often do we make time or go out of our way to care for isolated people though? Jesus made it a point to connect with the outcasts of society. In Mark 1:40-42 scripture says, “A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. ‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,’ he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’ Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.” Notice that Jesus had compassion on the man, physically touched him and healed him. God alone has the power to heal physical ailments, but He has called you to be an agent of healing all the same, by showing His love to the afflicted.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. Jesus spent the majority of his ministry moving between different towns and villages. He encountered many different people, some healthy, some sick.

Question: How did Jesus treat those he encountered? Whom did he interact with on his travels?

Matthew 9:35 (New Living Translation)

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.

Answer:

 

 

2. In this passage, Jesus is speaking about what will happen during his second coming to earth and the subsequent Final Judgment. After Jesus has returned to earth, this is the conversation that will take place between him and his righteous followers.

Question: What correlation is Jesus making between the way we treat those who are sick and our interactions with him?

Matthew 25:37-40 (New Living Translation)

37 Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” 40 And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Answer:

 

 

3. Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees as to why he spent so much time with “scum”. Pharisees saw tax collectors, sinners and people of questionable morality as beneath themselves. The following passage is his response.

Question: How does Jesus’ response make you re-evaluate who you may consider “sick”?

Luke 5:31 (New Living Translation)

Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’ t need a doctor- sick people do.”

Answer:

 

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

What kinds of sick people do you interact with on a regular basis? Are they physically ill? Are they hurt or distressed? Do you find that it’s easier for you to care for some, more than others?

 

 

 

What ways can you emulate Jesus more in interacting with those who could be considered sick? What insights do these encounters give you about the nature of God’s love for you?

 

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Thank God that He has given you an example to follow and that He has offered His healing to you. Ask that He reveal those in your life who may be sick and need care. Listen for His guidance.

 

Digging 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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2014 Memory Verses

April, 2014
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

March, 2014
“ Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.’”
John 11:25

February, 2014
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”
1 Timothy 6:15

January, 2014
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Act 4:12

Past 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.

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