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LIO 2/25 – The Purpose For Which I Was Called Is The Very Purpose For Which Jesus Came

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TUESDAY—The Purpose For Which I Was Called Is The Very Purpose For Which Jesus Came

Big Point: Our purpose is to lay down our lives for the cause of Christ and for the sake of others.

If we give God service it must be because He gives us grace. We work for Him because He works in us.

—Charles Spurgeon

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most poignant examples of what it means to walk in love. In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus tells the story of a Jewish man who had been attacked by a group of thieves while he was on his way to Jericho. These men stripped him of his clothes, beat him nearly to death and left his bruised and battered body on the side of the road. A priest, making his way down the road, saw the man lying there. Instead of helping him, he avoided him altogether and even crossed to the opposite side of the road. After this, a Temple assistant made his way down the road, saw the helpless broken man lying there, nearly lifeless, and chose not to help him. Jesus then tells us that a “despised” Samaritan came along and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. He soothed his wounds and bandaged them. He lifted the man, put him on his donkey and took him to an inn where he further took care of him. He even paid for the man’s room and board, asked the innkeeper to care for him and promised to pay more if the bills totaled higher than what he had given him.

The priest and the temple worker were considered to be righteous by the law and should have known better than to leave a man to die by the side of the road. The sin they committed was one of omission, meaning that they were wrong by not doing the right thing. However, the Samaritan, though detested and despised because of his origins, helped him simply because it was right.

The point that Jesus drove home was that, as people of God, simply knowing what is right isn’t enough; we must act on what we know! Those with all of the biblical knowledge from studying the laws, spending countless hours understanding and practicing traditions and rituals, passed up an opportunity to demonstrate that knowledge when it was presented to them. The Samaritan’s actions were that of compassion, sympathy and an immeasurable level of generosity. He used his own resources to tend to a stranger. God’s love is made plain in the actions of the Good Samaritan.

Every day we have an opportunity to manifest God’s love to our neighbors. Don’t simply sit on the knowledge that God is love. Love is not something we acknowledge with our minds or just feel with our emotions. Love is a verb. It is action! Prove it by your actions!

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan is a well known and cited story in the Bible. In the following verses, he is explaining what happened as the priest and the temple worker came upon the injured man.

Question: Why do you think they decided not to help the man? What stopped them from showing the love of God? What sin of omission did they commit?

Luke 10:30-32 (New Living Translation)

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of the clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.”

Answer:

 

 

2. These next verses pick up where the Samaritan finds the man on the side of the road. His actions will be the central theme of the parable.

Question: Even though the Samaritan was despised by the Jewish community, why did he choose to act in love anyway?

Luke 10: 33-35 (New Living Translation)

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 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. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’”

Answer:

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

In what ways are you demonstrating the love of God in a world that is broken and bruised? Are you showing God’s love by how you live?

 

 

 

 

 

What more can you do? What small acts of kindness can be done in order to manifest God’s love to your neighbors?

 

 

 

 

 

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

Thank God for His great love! Ask God to open your eyes to those who are hurting and in need of a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on or a simple act of mercy. Ask His help in becoming an ambassador of His loving heart, in order to fully demonstrate what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Ask Him to grant you the courage and wisdom to walk in love, and not cross over to the other side of the road when you see someone in need. Pray for His love to come alive in your heart!

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 2/24 – The Great Exchange: Stepping Into the Dirt

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The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past weekend, Chad Fisher illuminated the parable of the Good Samaritan, expounding on the message of “faith without action is dead” (James 2:14-26). Chad said, “If the love of God is in you, it will make its way through you and into the world around you.” Your deeds should match your faith.

In 2011, a two-year-old girl, Yue Yue, was struck by a van on a market street in China. The van hit her and slowly rolled over her before driving away. While she lie bleeding on the street, nearly a dozen people walked by, ignoring her for seven minutes, before a truck entered the street and ran her over again. Eventually, after five or six more people passed, a woman pulled her to the side of the road and her mother, a migrant worker in the city, ran to see what happened to her daughter.

In China, when a good Samaritan comes to the aid of another person, he or she becomes responsible for the life they have chosen to aid. Unfortunately, many good Samaritans have faced lawsuits in response to their kindness and the hearts of many have become calloused. No one helped this child because they were too concerned with their own welfare.

Chad used this story to illustrate the teaching held within Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Human nature is self-seeking. However, when we are forced to look at our humanity in such a gut wrenching way, it’s ugly. It should prompt you into some serious soul searching. The story of Yue Yue is devastating and makes this world’s need for Christ ever more apparent.

In Jesus’ time, a king’s power was measured by the number of servants he had (as well as possessions, size of military, etc.). But, Jesus was different. He did not come to adhere to the world’s standard, but to His Father’s. He had the title and the birthright of king, but he didn’t assume any of the privileges. He didn’t come to be served by all, but instead he came to serve others.

Why? Love. Jesus’ love for us was greater than his love for himself. God’s love is greater and bigger than any stock pile of possessions. Jesus also knew that serving his Father’s children, his brothers and sisters, would please his Father. He serves us out of love for us and love of God, the Father. And this love is inspiration. It shows us the way.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:4-7 ESV).

Jesus’ example of love shows us a better way to live than the way of the world. If you want to find your life’s purpose, you need to look beyond yourself!

MONDAY – To Step Into the Dirt Means Giving Up and Risking Everything for the Cause of Christ

Big Point: Jesus wants you to get dirty, as he did, to help save the lost.

One way to recognize whether we suffer from this disconnection is to look at our concern for people who are dirty… people who are “other”… people who don’t fit the core group’s image… Christians often want God to clean the fish before they catch them.

—Jim Cymbala

Did you enjoy riddles as a child? “What has to be broken before you can use it?” “What gets wetter as it dries?” And how about, “How can getting dirty make you clean?” The answers are as follows: An egg, a towel and, it’s complicated.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, Jesus speaks to an expert in religious law. The man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responds by asking the man what the Law of Moses says. As an expert, the man knew this law very well. The man replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus agreed, but the man asked Jesus to define the word “neighbor”. To do so, Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, the Samaritan “gets dirty” and comes out with a clean conscience.

For many people, loving God comes naturally. But, the command to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” is much easier said than done. It’s messy. It’s difficult. It makes people uncomfortable.

For Jesus, loving the world meant stepping into the dirt. In the book of Genesis, God formed Adam by using dust, or dirt, from the ground. Ironic that for Jesus, who was God, to save mankind he not only had to get dirty but, in a sense, become dirt. Jesus put on flesh to save sinners. Jesus took the stain of the world upon himself. He was not afraid to get dirty; not at all. Jesus left the comforts of heaven, literally entering the world of dirt, in order to save it.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. Some versions of the Bible use the word “dust” in this verse, while others use the word “dirt” to describe what God used to form humankind. From the most basic elements of the planet on which we live, God formed a body and combined it with a soul to create an eternal being.

Question: When humans die physically, how is the process of creation reversed?

Genesis 2:7 (The Message)

God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul!

Answer:

 

 

2. The following verse is believed by most scholars to be a first century hymn. These six basic truths of the Gospel all contain Christ as the implied subject.

Question: How does 1 Timothy 1:16 show that Jesus was both fully God and fully man?

1 Timothy 3:16 (New Living Translation)

Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:

Christ was revealed in a human body

    and vindicated by the Spirit.

He was seen by angels

    and announced to the nations.

He was believed in throughout the world

    and taken to heaven in glory.

Answer:

 

 

3. As Jesus spoke to the expert of the religious law, the expert correctly summed up the entire Law of Moses in two simple statements. In order to please God, people must love God and love others. This is both simple and profound!

Question: Who do you think is one’s “neighbor”? Explain how this goes beyond just the people that live in close proximity to you.

Luke 10:27 (New Living Translation)

The man answered, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are called to live as he did. Are you willing to get your hands dirty and serve, even when it’s not comfortable? Explain your answer.

 

 

 

 

How does it make you feel to know that God Himself was willing to get a little dirty in order to save you? In light of this truth, how does faith saving knowledge of Jesus influence the way you treat other people in your day to day life?

 

 

 

 

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

Thank God for sending His son to earth in order to die for your sins. Ask Him to challenge you in regards to how you treat other people. Pray for opportunities this week to show Christ’s love to others.

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 2/24: Stepping Into the Dirt

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

 

LIO 2/21 – Sky is the Limit Living!

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FRIDAY: Sky is the Limit Living!

Big Point: Don’t limit God!

When God moves us out of our comfort zone—into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful— that even hurt—this is a gift.

These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God—in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.

-Ann Voskamp

In a presentation entitled, “Hurtling Toward Oblivion,” physician and futurist, Dr. Richard Swenson asks us to consider the following question: “What if we could go to the other side of eternity and sit there for ten minutes? Then, we would come back to earth and finish out the rest of our lives. What would our lives be like? What would we learn and how would our lives be different?”

It would change EVERYTHING. In those ten minutes, we would have the opportunity to see the full scope of all of the BIG and SMALL things we did to share the gospel with the people we met. We’d get a chance to see each of those individual moments strung together into a testimony that brings glory to Jesus’ name. We’d get to see the moments when we stepped out of our Comfort Zone toward the Impact Zone and the lives that were impacted as a result.

Here’s the thing: God has already given us a vision of what He knows and sees in the future. As a result, He doesn’t want us to miss out on the joy and satisfaction that comes from making an eternal difference in the life of someone else.

 

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

1. It’s hard to imagine that the same God who created the universe cares intimately for you. In Psalm 8, the psalmist sings of God’s majesty and greatness. Then, the psalmist asks why such an awesome God, unlimited in power, would be concerned with flawed, lowly humans.

Question: Consider the psalmist’s question and answer it. Why is God concerned about us? List some words that would describe God’s feelings toward humanity.

Psalm 8:3-4 (New Living Translation)

3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—

    the moon and the stars you set in place—

4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,

    human beings that you should care for them?

Answer:

 

 

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

As you finish the week, we hope that you embrace God’s vision for multiplication. We pray that you’ve sensed a leading from God regarding how He wants to use YOU—your time, talent and skills to exponentially increase the kingdom of God. Continue to ask God to open your eyes to the places and relationships where you have an opportunity to become a “fisher of men.”

 

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

1. Read Genesis 15:1-6. What stands out to you in this passage? What vision did God have for Abram and why was Abram initially unable to embrace that vision?

2. Have you ever found yourself in a period of doubt or struggled to trust in God’s plan for your life? In what ways did you try to force God’s timing and what was the result?

3. What does it mean to step out of your tent? How can being “tent focused” cause you to miss God’s greater vision for your life?

4. Have you ever viewed CedarCreek as a monument as opposed to a movement? Why is it so important to view local churches as movements instead of monuments?

5. How did Ciara and Jaydon’s story touch your heart and what actions are you going to take as a result?

 

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 Daily Bible Reading—Mark 5:21-43
  • Beyond Ourselves Initiative— We have received several calls and emails regarding those wanting to turn in their cards but were unable to make it due to the weather.  A link is provided below if you’d like to fill a card out online. You can then print it out and bring it with you this weekend or submit it electronically. Here is the link: http://cedarcreek.tv/giving-online/beyond-ourselves/commitment-card/
  • Don’t miss special guest speaker! Chad Fisher is the lead pastor of Rock City Church in Columbus. We’ve been partnered with Rock City for years. Chad is a dynamic speaker, so don’t miss this weekend’s message.
  • The Big Give Weekend on February 22nd 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 Coast City 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 24:46,47b

And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day…There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.”

Jesus could have called angels to rescue him from the cross, but he was generously willing to die to take the punishment we deserve for our sin. We can be generous too

Scripture: This week we talked about Jesus’ death and resurrection (Luke 23-24). Read both chapters with your family.

Questions:

  • What terrible things happened to Jesus in these chapters?
  • What wonderful thing happened 3 days later?
  • When Jesus died, he paid the price for our sins to be forgiven by God. How does that make you feel?

Family Activity: Some gifts can be purchased with money, others simply come from the heart. Make a list of the types of gifts you give from the heart. (Some examples: Love, forgiveness, listening, kindness, understanding, outreach, helping others, supporting one another, sharing, etc.) 1.Make three hearts out of red construction paper; 2.Write one gift on each heart; 3.Punch a small hole in the top of each heart; 4.Run a strand of yarn through each heart; 5.Tie each heart onto a coat hanger. It is now ready to hang somewhere at home.

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

Have some feedback? Email questions or comments to Lukes@cedarcreek.tv

RESOURCES:

Biblegateway.com

Hurtling Toward Oblivion by Dr. Richard Swenson

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

Alyssa Baker

Kaila Mugford

Luke Shortridge

JoAnna Studer

LIO 2/20 – The Church is not a Monument to be Maintained but Rather, it is a Movement to be Perpetuated

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

THURSDAY – The Church is not a Monument to be Maintained but Rather, it is a Movement to be Perpetuated

Big Point: We should have our lesson at the Tower of Babel.

Every true movement initiated by the Spirit of God leads men back to the words of Christ which were inscripturated by His own inspiration.

-Walter J. Chantry, pastor and author

Earlier in the week, we talked about the idea that God wants His children to be fruitful and multiply. There are several different times when He gives that command to His people. What did the people do? Instead of spreading out, they formed big cities. Then, their hearts began to drift from God. The people started to feel so secure within their own groups that they didn’t feel they needed God.

One day, someone had an idea to build a tower that would reach to the sky. The tower wasn’t to be built so they could be closer to God, rather, they wanted to build a name for themselves. So, they built the Tower of Babel to commemorate their own achievement. The ending result was disastrous.

Today, it could be argued that the church is seen by many as a monument instead of a movement. How often do we make it all about the building—admiring how it looks from the inside and out?

We forget that people don’t commit to buildings or monuments. They may pass by them, maybe spend the day remembering why the monument was erected, but most of the time monuments don’t change lives. People do not give their lives for monuments. Instead, people will give everything for movements. When we are able to see our church as a movement instead of a monument, we get involved and lives are changed.

Adam Davis says: “Tent thinking sees the church as a MONUMENT to be maintained rather than a MOVEMENT to be perpetuated and you’ll never give the best of your TIME, TREASURE or TALENT to all that God is inviting you into.”

So, what do we learn from the tower of Babel? The church should not be a testament to how spectacular the people are; it should be a movement in which people are willing to sacrifice anything, because they know they will gain everything.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

Written by Moses, Genesis 11 recounts the story of the tower of Babel.

Question: To whom were the people building a monument? Why would God be angry at their efforts?

Genesis 11:4 (New Living Translation)

Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”

Answer:

 

 

2. The main theme of the Book of Acts, believed to be written by Luke, can be summarized by this verse. Jesus wanted to start a movement so the apostles were to go beyond themselves and reach others with the message.

Question: Jesus didn’t want to create unique architecture in cities all over the world, he wanted to impact human lives. Where were the disciples to go? How did Jesus’ instructions demonstrate the idea of multiplication?

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:

 

 

3. First, Peter gives great examples and teachings on how Christians are to live for Jesus Christ. God’s temple is His church, the people. When we accept Christ, God’s spirit comes to live within us.

Question: What kind of stones build God’s temple?

1 Peter 2:5 (New Living Translation)

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

What kind of monuments are you building for yourself? Nice home? Great job?

 

 

 

How can you use what you’ve been building to glorify God and His purpose?

 

 

 

But we are not to be a monument, but a movement. What does a “movement” mean to you? How are you a part of the movement at CedarCreek church?

 

 

 

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

Ask God to help you see and understand what it means to be a movement and not a monument. Ask for His help as you try to apply what you’ve learned today to your life. Ask God to direct you as you share your time, talents and treasures with Him and His church.

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 2/19 – God Invites You Outside Your Tent

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

WEDNESDAY— God Invites You Outside Your Tent

Big Idea: God calls you outside your comfort zone to reach people He loves—to become outwardly focused, instead of inwardly preoccupied.

Good works is giving to the poor and the helpless, but divine works is showing them their worth to the One Who matters.

-Criss Jami

Much is communicated in American church culture regarding the “attack against the family”. While the premise has merit, if all your time and efforts are focused on reaching your family for Christ, you become imprisoned within a distraction or trap. If family becomes our primary focus for Christ, to the exclusion of national and international missions, our nuclear family can become an idol.

Jesus taught his disciples regarding his priority of showing God’s love to others—not just their families, but everyone around them. He repeatedly emphasized the need for them to love their enemies! Unthinkable! Preposterous! Gently and lovingly, Jesus explained how Christ-followers are defined by the act of loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgiveable (see Luke 6:35).

Consider where you currently invest the majority of your time, talents and finances…are you perpetuating a fallacy that those within your tent are the most important as evidenced by costly vacations and extravagant gifts lavished upon them? These activities perpetuate the lie that those “outside your tribe” are excluded from your generosity. How much of yourself are you devoting to those you don’t know or, even more difficult, those who are your “enemies”?

By venturing outside your tent into the world, you will break out of your “holy huddle” and discover what God is doing, possibly becoming involved. Where would you rather invest your life—in your personal agenda or in God’s timeless pursuits?

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?

Abram was struggling with trusting God to perform what He said He would do when it didn’t make sense to Abram. In his despair, Abram suggested a “Plan B” to help God complete His promise.

Question: Who had God determined would be Abram’s heir? Not only that, how many descendants did God say Abram would have?

Genesis 15:4-5 (New Living Translation)

4Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5 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!”

Answer:

 

 

2. Nearing the end of his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul spends some time encouraging the church, saying they will “reap what they sow”.

Question: Who should be the recipients of our “doing good”? What is the condition upon which we will “reap a harvest”? How does a harvest imply multiplication?

Galatians 6:9-10 (New International Version)

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Answer:

 

 

3. While preaching his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spent some time describing how to love your enemies—a revolutionary concept. Jesus pointed out that even those who are wicked love those that love them; he challenged his disciples to be radically different.

Question: What does it take to act as “children of the Most High”? Give some examples of what this looks like.

Luke 6:35 (New Living Translation)

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

Realizing that you treat those “outside your tribe” differently than “inside your tribe”, what three steps can you take to decrease the disparity?

 

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

Understanding that God loves everyone deeply, how would you describe an “enemy” to which Jesus referred? Who would that be in your life?

 

 

 

 

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

Ask God to give you wisdom in loving those around you, especially those “outside your tent”. Pray He will reveal His priorities to you, direct your path and give you the desire to love those He puts around you, even your “enemies”.

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 2/18 – From One Son God Can Make a Multitude

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

TUESDAY– From One Son God Can Make a Multitude

Big Point: The effects will exponentially increase the glory of God.

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.

  — C.S. Lewis

What is “exponential” increase? We can explain, but we might have to take some of you in what we like to call the “Way-Back Machine”: In the 1980’s, Fabrege Organics produced a commercial about their shampoo. They said it was so fantastic, after one woman used it, she told two friends and then they told two friends and then they told two friends and so on, and so on. On screen, the picture split to three frames, then seven frames, then 15, until the whole screen was filled with pictures. This is exponential growth. But, it doesn’t happen by just telling one person, that is just addition. In order to get exponential growth that multiplies, you have to tell everyone!

Just as in the commercial, it has to start somewhere. We have seen how one person can start a movement that changes everything. God can do incredible things with just one person!

If we look at the story of Abram (Abraham) as an example, God had told him he would be the father of all nations. Abram did not believe God because he was old and did not even have a son. He thought that his wealth would be passed to his slave Eliezer because he was childless. But, when he trusted God, Isaac was born and everything changed. Eliezer represents trying to grow the church on our own strength. Isaac represents the supernatural growth of God’s Kingdom. By putting our faith in God, making disciples, raising up leaders and planting churches, we create exponential growth. This is multiplication through the Son.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?

1. In this chapter, the Lord is telling Abram of his promise to make him the father of all nations. At this point, Abram does not believe God’s promise because he can not see it.

Question: Why do you think it is so important for us to have faith in God’s promises to us?

Genesis 15:2-3 (New Living Translation)

2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”

Answer:

 

 

2. In this passage, the apostle Paul is trying to explain how our bodies will be transformed upon resurrection. Here he tells us that through Adam, God gave us life on earth, but through Jesus, God gave us life eternal.

Question: Why is this illustration key to the gospel?

1 Corinthians 15:45 (New Living Translation)

The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.

Answer:

 

 

3. This verse is talking about the omnipresence of our Lord. Jesus was sent as a tangible version of the great I Am.

Question: What does it mean that he is “firstborn over all creation”?

Colossians 1:15 (New International Version)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

Is it easy for you to tell people the Good News about Jesus, or do you find it difficult? List three practical ways you could incorporate more evangelism into your life.

 

 

 

 

Do you currently disciple anyone? Can you think of anyone who you might like to disciple? How would you go about initiating that relationship?

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever thought about being a part of planting a church? Do you know any of the people that moved to Florida to start Coast City? What would it take for you to make such a move?

 

 

 

 

 

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

Thank God for sending Jesus to be the last Adam, our bridge to life everlasting. Ask Him to help you to spread this wonderful news to as many people as possible, that His will be done. Ask Him for strength and courage to step out in a bold way to give exponential growth to His Kingdom, for His glory.

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

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

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

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

LIO 2/14 – The Blank Pages

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

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

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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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