Did Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?

Somewhere between kindergarten and high school, we begin to believe the idiom, “Curiosity killed the cat.” We lose our sense of wonder. We go from asking “why” to everyone we encounter, and instead, try to figure it out ourselves. We don’t stop and marvel over an ant carrying a crumb of food 10 times bigger than itself or stop and look for the rainbow during the sun-drenched rain. We become self-reliant in every aspect of our lives including our relationship with God. Our culture prizes independence and self-sufficiency; the more we can do for ourselves, the better. But, that is not what God wants for us. God wants us to come to him with any and all of our questions.

Like a child in awe of the beetle under the rock, God wants us to come to him. He wants us to marvel at his creation and come to him when our lives just don’t seem to make sense. He wants us to ask him the big questions and even the small ones. He wants us to be curious about the things that puzzle us and allow our hearts to be open and vulnerable before him. Nicodemus was beginning to understand this when he came to Jesus. He was a teacher of the law, an expert on all things of God up until this point, yet Jesus puzzled him. This uneducated man from Galilee was saying things about God that made no sense to his educated mind. His soul was being stirred and his intellect challenged in new ways. He was curious and was willing to risk everything to find out if Jesus could answer his questions.

However, Nicodemus got stuck. He was so immersed in this natural world that he couldn’t see through the physical to the spiritual. This man, who was supposed to believe in a spiritual God, couldn’t see past the confines of the world he was living in. But he still came to Jesus and asked for answers. He still opened himself up before Jesus and sought the truth. He didn’t demand that Jesus prove that he was God, he had a little bit of faith and then allowed that faith to open him to ask more meaningful questions. When we come before God, it should be with an open heart, a questioning heart. God is not afraid of our questions. He allows us to ask the things that keep us up at night and will answer them when we sincerely seek him.

 

John 3:3-4, 9 (New Living Translation)
3Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 4“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”… 9”How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

 

Nicodemus is genuinely curious about the things Jesus is telling him. He wanted to understand, but what is holding him back?

 

What are the questions that you have for God that you are afraid to ask?

 

Allow yourself time this week to be curious about the things God has made. Look at the world around you and marvel at the beauty of a single flower. Allow yourself to be open and vulnerable before God. Search your heart and ask him the questions that keep you up at night.

 

God, thank you that you are not silent. Thank you that you want us to come before you with our questions and concerns. Speak to our hearts and provide our souls with the answers we seek. Remind us that you are not afraid of our questions and desire to communicate with us no matter what our hearts are asking. Allow us to see and appreciate the wonder you have placed all around us. Amen.

 

 

LIO 9/13 – Walking Around in the Dark

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

Walking Around in the Dark

Among life’s most curious truths is the fact that that as we grow older, many of us gradually lose the innate sense of curiosity and wonder that God grants us.

We begin our earthly journey with an inquisitive desire to explore the world around us. From our very first steps as children, we approach new experiences with unbridled enthusiasm. As we grow older, some of us stop taking new steps for fear that we may not be heading in the “right” direction. As a result, we can find ourselves faced with a paradox: although we are intellectually wiser, our “learning” can leave us longing for the curiosity and joy we knew as children who stepped into new experiences with expectation, enthusiasm, and trust.

In John 3, Nicodemus, a learned and highly respected teacher of Scripture, comes to Jesus under cover of night with questions that demonstrate his struggle with truly comprehending—and believing—what Jesus preached. In short, while he acknowledged Jesus was blessed by God, he was holding back on stepping into true faith.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body of the Jews. In the first century of Jerusalem, he was not only considered a respected teacher of the Old Testament scriptures but arguably the most renowned teacher of the Bible. Some have likened him to the Billy Graham of his day. And yet, upon meeting Jesus, Nicodemus expressed confusion over some of the most basic elements of Jesus’ teachings.

Nicodemus most likely approached Jesus in the dark because he didn’t want to be seen by the people—who definitely knew of him. It could’ve been career suicide for him to seriously inquire of Jesus. Simply put, Nicodemus took the next step. He went to Jesus—albeit in the dark—and asked him questions.
The message Jesus gives to Nicodemus—and us—is that even in uncertainty, we need to take the next step.

 

READ IT: What does the Bible say?
John 3:1-2 (New Living Translation)
1There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

 

BELIEVE IT: What is the lesson for me?
Nicodemus’ curiosity led to not only approaching Jesus but engaging him with questions. How have you noticed your curiosity helping your faith grow?

 

LIVE IT: What will I do now?
Are you meeting God on his terms, or requiring that he meet your expectations before truly committing to him? What can you do to ensure that you step into your belief in, and relationship with, him?

 

PRAY IT:
Heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom to know, believe, and trust in you as my Lord and Savior, and the ability to boldly step into my relationship with you.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “GOD WHERE ARE YOU NOW” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you found out something you believed to be true wasn’t.
  2. Read John 3:1-17. What principle from the message resonated with you?
  3. The big idea for the series is, “God does not meet our terms, He invites us to experience His.” Why is this difficult for many people?
  4. Ben challenged us to “Get curious about the right things.” What can you do this week to practice being curious?

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.


God Where Are You Now Series—Memory Verse:

You will seek me and find me when
you seek me with all your heart.
JEREMIAH 29:13 (NIV)

 

LIO 9/12 – The Curious Case of Nicodemus

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


The Curious Case of Nicodemus

If you could ask God one question, knowing he would give you an answer, what would it be? For some, it might be a question about his plan for their life, a future event of some sort, or an answer to a question about history. For others, however, it might be a more difficult question like “God, why did you do it this way; couldn’t there have been a better way?” Regardless of the question, we need to know that it’s important for us to be curious.

This past weekend, Ben Snyder kicked off our new series, “God, Where Are You Now?” by talking about what to do when God doesn’t seem real. We looked at the story of Nicodemus in John 3, and how his curiosity led to a fascinating conversation with Jesus. This week, we’re going to dive into the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, but today we’re going to pull back a little and look at the overall message of the passage.

While Nicodemus begins the conversation by telling Jesus that it’s obvious God is with him, Jesus seemingly dismisses Nicodemus’ statement and steers the conversation to the topic of being “born again” (v. 3). Throughout the conversation, Nicodemus maintains a posture of curiosity, and what we can glean from the story is that when God doesn’t seem real, we need to get curious about the right things: his perspective (vs. 5-8) and his sacrifice (vs. 13-15). It’s no coincidence that after the conversation with Nicodemus, where Jesus discussed his perspective and his sacrifice, he utters probably the most famous Bible verse in history, John 3:16.

When we, like Nicodemus, get curious about God’s perspective and sacrifice, then we can experience his love and promise (vs. 16-17). This truth – getting curious about the right things leads to us experiencing God’s love and promise – doesn’t only apply to people who are far from God, but also to the mature believer. In verse 12, Jesus says, “But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” Here, the Greek word for “you” is plural, meaning that Jesus is not only speaking directly to Nicodemus but also us! He is telling us that we should trust him on simple (earthly) things and only then can we understand spiritual things. We should be living a life of curiosity about the right things. When we continually do this, we can dive deeper into the love and promise of Jesus.

 

READ IT: What does the Bible say?
John 3:12 (New Living Translation)
12But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

 

BELIEVE IT: What is the lesson for me?
Have you allowed a lack of curiosity to hurt your growth in Christ?

 

LIVE IT: What will I do now?
What can you do this week to become more curious about God?

 

PRAY IT:
Thank God for the story of Nicodemus and for welcoming your curiosity. Ask him to point out where you could be more curious in your faith, and for help in that process.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “GOD WHERE ARE YOU NOW” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you found out something you believed to be true wasn’t.
  2. Read John 3:1-17. What principle from the message resonated with you?
  3. The big idea for the series is, “God does not meet our terms, He invites us to experience His.” Why is this difficult for many people?
  4. Ben challenged us to “Get curious about the right things.” What can you do this week to practice being curious?

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.


God Where Are You Now Series—Memory Verse:

You will seek me and find me when
you seek me with all your heart.
JEREMIAH 29:13 (NIV)

 

LIO 9/9 – 3 Things You Need to Know About Demons

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

3 Things You Need to Know About Demons

When you hear the word “demon,” what do you think? If you’re like most people, your thoughts could range anywhere from “The Exorcist,” to ghost-like figures that haunt people. Demons are a popular attraction in America. We have movies, songs, haunted attractions, and more that draw on our fear and curiosity of demons, and many times, give us a distorted view of them. As Christians, having a correct view of the spiritual world is important to functioning well in our current world. Here are three important things you need to know about demons:

They’re Real
Since movies are often fictitious, when we see demonic representations in movies, we might think that demons are not real. This would be a mistake. When the biblical authors discuss demons, it is always within the context of reality. They believed that demon possession and influence actually happened. Many passages speak of Jesus healing people possessed by demons and Jesus having a conversation with the demon (like in the passage from last weekend in Mark 5). While Scripture may not always refer to demons by that name (titles like “unclean spirits” and “evil spirits” are often used), it is clear the Bible teaches us that demons are real.

Many people have questions about what demons are. First, there are absolutely zero passages that physically describe a demon. Simply put, the Bible is silent on what demons might look like. Any physical representation in our entertainment is, at best, just entertainment. Second, we know from Scripture that demons are fallen angels. There are several passages that tell us this, one of which is Revelation 12:9.

They’re Powerful
We not only need to know demons are real, but that they are also powerful. They have the power to possess a human body and cause it to act in a completely unnatural way (Acts 16, Luke 4, Matthew 17, etc.). It’s important to know, however, that demons cannot possess a Christian because they are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4). Not only can they possess an unsaved person, but they can also perform miracles. In Revelation 16:14, John writes, “They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty.” Knowing that demons can possess a human body and perform miracles might lead one to fear demons, and that brings us to our third point.

They’re Defeated
God has already defeated the demons. In fact, many demons are already bound up and restrained. In Jude 6, we read, “And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.” While other demons are still free to roam, Jesus has defeated all demons on the cross. In Colossians 2:15, Paul writes “In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.”

So we know that demons are real and that that they can be powerful; but ultimately, God has defeated them.

When we acknowledge the reality of difficult spiritual truths like demons, we have the opportunity to trust God. On prayer, John Piper writes, “So we see repeatedly in Scripture that prayer is a walkie talkie for warfare, not a domestic intercom for increasing our conveniences.” By acknowledging the reality of the spiritual world around us, we can pray to God more earnestly for his power and boldness.

 
 

How can acknowledging the reality and power of the spiritual realm and God’s control over it increase your faith?

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “POWER OF ONE” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you were caught giving a “creative excuse.”
  2. What part of the message stuck out to you?
  3. Why do we struggle with “going to the other side”?
  4. Big Invite begins next weekend. Who needs to hear your story?

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.


The Power of One Series—Memory Verse:

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
PHILIPPIANS 2:2 (NLT)


Weekend Updates!

  • GROUPS: What’s your opportunity for influence? Sign up to be a group leader for adults, students or children. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need a passion! Go to CedarCreek.tv/groups or visit the Welcome Center this weekend.
  • CONNECT AT THE CREEK: Interested in connecting with others while learning more about the ‘Creek? Spend a couple hours with us on September 25 from 4-6pm at any of our campuses. We’ll tell you a little about who we are, explain what we believe, and help you discover what’s next.
  • BIG INVITE: God. Where are you now? Sometimes life just sucks and you wonder where God is or if He’s even there at all. Join us as we start the conversation next weekend, September 10th –11th.
  • RIGHT NOW MEDIA: Connect. Learn. Grow. Streaming thousands of free Bible studies and resources. Sign up at CedarCreek.tv/rightnow today.

Resources Used This Week:

Gotquestions.org
Biblehub.com
Desiring God—John Piper
Biblegateway.com

All Scripture is taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted.


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 AndyR@CedarCreek.tv

 

LIO 9/8 – Our Discomfort is Not That Important

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

Our Discomfort is Not That Important

The early church was faced with many difficult trials. Often, their lives were on the line for sharing their faith. When the disciples were told by the Jewish leaders that they could not tell the people about their experience with Jesus, they knew that they had to disobey their rulers. They had been given a direct command from God to spread the word and not only that, they were “on fire” for Jesus because of what they had seen and heard. Their lives had been so transformed that they could not stop if they wanted to.

We have the same opportunity to invite people into this great adventure. We can boldly tell our story of how Jesus transformed our lives, and offer the same opportunity to everyone we meet. We shouldn’t think of inviting people as something we do out of guilt, but as an opportunity to invite someone into a life-changing experience. It is a gift that we are offering, and gifts should be given with a joyful heart.

It may feel uncomfortable at times, like we are going against the norms of society when we extend that invitation. We wonder if we will offend or make someone upset or angry; but the truth of what we are offering is so much more important than the possibility of upsetting someone. Ultimately, our discomfort is not that important.

In the passage below, John and Peter were put in an untenable situation. They knew they would be in trouble for disobeying the town rulers, but they were so moved by what Jesus had done in their lives that they didn’t care what the rulers said. Their conscience would not allow them to be silent. Jesus had changed their lives, and they had to share that news with everyone they encountered.

Even though we don’t currently face the same trials as the disciples, we can learn from their example. Just as John and Peter had to go against the authorities because they were compelled by the transformational power of Christ, we too should be bold and unafraid, inviting everyone we encounter to step into the adventure of a lifetime, the gift of real joy and everlasting life.

 

READ IT: What does the Bible say?
Acts 4:18-20
18So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”

What was the motivation for John and Peter to disobey the commands of the rulers?

 

BELIEVE IT: What is the lesson for me?
What is your motivation for telling people about Jesus?

 

LIVE IT: What will I do now?
Think about how your life has changed because of Christ. Try to write out your story in a few short sentences that you could share with others to motivate them to want the same transformation.

 

PRAY IT:
Ask God for the boldness to share your story and extend an invitation for someone to experience the life transformation that comes from knowing Jesus.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “POWER OF ONE” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you were caught giving a “creative excuse.”
  2. What part of the message stuck out to you?
  3. Why do we struggle with “going to the other side”?
  4. Big Invite begins next weekend. Who needs to hear your story?

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.


The Power of One Series—Memory Verse:

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
PHILIPPIANS 2:2 (NLT)

 

LIO 9/7 – Why We Struggle to Invite

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

Why We Struggle to Invite

Let’s look at one writer’s experience with inviting.

For 17 years, I’ve been a member of CedarCreek Church. And for 17 years, I have been thinking about inviting my friend, but have been too afraid to ask. I don’t see her often, but when I do see her we have such a good time together. I know I’m “supposed” to invite her to church, but fear stops me every time. Most of my friends already attend church somewhere, so that’s never been an issue with them. I haven’t had to think about inviting them to church. It seems much easier to invite strangers or a casual acquaintance to church. I know my friend doesn’t attend church. But I don’t know if she has faith in anything. She’s always been generous when my kids have asked for money to go on mission trips and she’s a really good person. So why do I let fear stop me from inviting her to church? What am I afraid of? I know it’s probably irrational to fear losing her as a friend given the relationship we’ve built over the years, but for some reason, that fear still exists.

I know that many of us have a fear of inviting or sharing our faith. I know that our motivation for sharing our faith (or inviting) should be love. Performer Penn Jillette, an atheist, was given a Bible by someone in the audience after a performance one day. Although he is an atheist, he thinks that Christians should be sharing their faith. In a YouTube video, he says, “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them?” I love my friend so much that I should risk a broken relationship so that she may share in the love of Jesus Christ. I have to trust God and his love for me and get rid of the fears of inviting my friend to church. The disciples went to “the other side” of the Sea of Galilee with Jesus to reach people who needed him. The other side was a destination to which most Jews probably wouldn’t have ventured. They took a risk and trusted Jesus and then watched as he loved on a demon possessed man. Our motivation to “go to the other side” – those places we don’t usually go to reach people for Jesus – should be love. As John says in today’s passage, when we share the Gospel (maybe invite people to church?) we show that we have the Holy Spirit living in us.

 

READ IT: What does the Bible say?
1 John 4:13-16a, 18a
13And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love… 18Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.

If you take this verse to heart, what are the things you can do now that you know that his perfect love expels fear?

 

BELIEVE IT: What is the lesson for me?
How can you show that you trust God’s love for you this week?

 

LIVE IT: What will I do now?
What fears do you have related to inviting people to church? How can you set aside your fears and trust God to help you invite those around you that need him?

 

PRAY IT:
Thank God for giving us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Ask for his help as we declare that Jesus is the Son of God to those who are lost around us. Thank God for loving us. Ask him to help us put our trust in his love and expel fear.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “POWER OF ONE” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you were caught giving a “creative excuse.”
  2. What part of the message stuck out to you?
  3. Why do we struggle with “going to the other side”?
  4. Big Invite begins next weekend. Who needs to hear your story?

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.


The Power of One Series—Memory Verse:

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
PHILIPPIANS 2:2 (NLT)

 

LIO 9/6 – The Easiest Way to Invite Someone to Church

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

The Easiest Way to Invite Someone to Church

We live in a world with virtually unlimited access to an abundance of information. If we don’t know the answer to something, or want to learn about a subject, we can simply “Google” it. Unfortunately, with all of that information floating around, we tend to overcomplicate things. It’s easy to get stuck in “analysis paralysis.” We think we have to have all the answers before we can make a decision, answer a question…or invite someone to church.
We will never have all the answers. The good thing is that we don’t have to. We just have to be willing to point people to the One who does. (John 9:24-29)

Often, we are afraid to invite people because of the questions they might ask, or because they may be resistant to the idea of God or church. As Chris Baney pointed out in his message, inviting someone makes us step out of our comfort zone; it requires us to be bold. Thankfully, Jesus gives us all the grace we need to do this. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

In Matthew 4:19, Jesus says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus is telling us here that if we follow him, he will equip us with the tools we need to invite people to join us. A quote by Francis Chan says, “God wants to change us so much that it intrigues others.” In other words, if we allow Jesus to work in our lives, people will be naturally drawn to us (and him); all we have to do is invite them. It’s not about having all the answers for people when they ask questions, it’s all about knowing and pointing people to Jesus, who can transform them.
In John 1:45-49, Philip had met Jesus previously, but wanted to tell his friend Nathanael about him. Nathanael responded, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip replied, “Come and see for yourself.”

Philip didn’t complicate this; he answered very simply, “Come and see.” He didn’t engage in a debate about the town of Nazareth, and whether anything good had ever come out of it. He knew what an encounter with Jesus had done inside him, and he was certain that a meeting with Jesus would do the same for his friend.

People matter to God. When we extend an invitation to someone, we are inviting them into an encounter with Jesus. All we have to do is invite them, whether it be using our own story, a testimony, or three simple words: “Come and see.”

 

READ IT: What does the Bible say?
John 1:45-49
45Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. 47As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” 48“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” 49Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

What is Philip’s response to Nathanael in this passage? What would your response be if someone asked you if anything good comes from going to church?

 

BELIEVE IT: What is the lesson for me?
Why is it essential to separate ourselves and our perceived or real lack of scriptural answers from the act of inviting others to church?

 

LIVE IT: What will I do now?
Who can you invite to church this week?

 

PRAY IT:
Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life. It is your desire that all people will be drawn to you. Give me the opportunity to tell others about you and invite them into a relationship with you. Amen.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “POWER OF ONE” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you were caught giving a “creative excuse.”
  2. What part of the message stuck out to you?
  3. Why do we struggle with “going to the other side”?
  4. Big Invite begins next weekend. Who needs to hear your story?

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.


The Power of One Series—Memory Verse:

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
PHILIPPIANS 2:2 (NLT)

 

LIO 9/5 – How to Defeat a Demon

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


How to Defeat a Demon

As a church, we are entering into one of the most important seasons of the year: Big Invite. The Big Invite is the time of year when we pull out all the stops in order to invite as many people as possible to church. Typically, we advertise more, provide more invite cards, and tailor our series even more specifically to those that never attend church. As exciting as these seasons can be, many times they bring on a sense of pressure or guilt for many CedarCreek attenders. While we would love to see more people attend church, many times we struggle with inviting people. Why is that?

Chris Baney closed out our “Power of One” series last weekend by talking about the Power of One invite. His main point was “My response to God’s invitation has the power for transformation.” He illustrated this point by telling the story of the disciples traveling from Capernaum to “the other side” of the Sea of Galilee to a place in the Decapolis (a name for ten pagan cities). Chris explained that the disciples were leaving the comfort of Capernaum (a place where many Jews lived) to a part of the Decapolis, which probably would have made them uncomfortable at the very least. Jesus brought these disciples to “the other side” and encountered a man possessed by many demons. The man is obviously suffering immensely. Jesus casts out the demons into a herd of pigs, healing the man.

Through this story, we learn a few things. First, we learn that an invitation requires us going to “the other side,” or meet people where they are. The story in Mark showed this in that the disciples literally traveled to “the other side” to do the work of Christ. Second, we learn that an invitation challenges our comfort zone. Not only did travelling to the Decapolis probably make the disciples uncomfortable, but interacting with a man possessed by multiple demons didn’t help their comfort either. Finally, we learned that an invitation doesn’t guarantee immediate results. The disciples probably didn’t see the immediate results of the man sharing his story throughout the Decapolis, but according to verse 20, people were impacted.

Finally, Chris challenged us to “Find your family” and “Share your story” just like the man in the story did. How should this impact our invitations?

 

READ IT: What does the Bible say?
Mark 5:18-20
18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.

Why do you think the people in the Decapolis were amazed at his story?

 

BELIEVE IT: What is the lesson for me?
What about inviting people to church can be difficult?

 

LIVE IT: What will I do now?
Is there someone in your life with whom you should share your story?

 

PRAY IT:
Dear Lord, thank you so much for loving us and calling us to love each other. You know the obstacles that weigh on my heart when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Remove my fear and instill a powerful compassion in me that moves me to take action for the lost within my reach. I pray for your touch and presence in my home, my community and throughout the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

More Living It Out


Dig Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group video by the teaching pastor or view the message.


Weekend Message Discussion Questions: (Use the following questions, along with the message notes, during the “POWER OF ONE” series with
a group of friends, family, or your LifeGroup to connect, learn, and take your next step.)

  1. Talk about a time when you were caught giving a “creative excuse.”
  2. What part of the message stuck out to you?
  3. Why do we struggle with “going to the other side”?
  4. Big Invite begins next weekend. Who needs to hear your story?

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.


The Power of One Series—Memory Verse:

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
PHILIPPIANS 2:2 (NLT)