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Bible Study

LIO 2/19- From Finding to Becoming

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

THURSDAY - From Finding to Becoming
Big Point – I’m not trying to find, I’m trying to become.” – Marsha K.

When we stop asking, “Why am I alone?” and start asking, “Why am I here?” our whole world will change — for the good.

-Michelle Hammond

Have you considered what characteristics you have to offer? We all have “that list” of what we want in our current or future spouse, right? Instead of first seeking out the person who fits that list, or trying to change our spouse into that “ideal”, shouldn’t we focus on becoming what God would have for us, using the gifts He has blessed each of us with?

In his message, Ben gave us the “unsexy” list, or the list of characteristics we can look for in others or for God to develop within us – characteristics that happen outside of the bedroom first:

FAITH-FILLED—Are you living as a devoted follower of Christ?

FAITHFUL—Do you live out your faith in all situations and all circumstances?

TEAM MATE—Are you willing to be an ‘in the trenches’ partner living life?

FRIEND FIRST—Do you have what it takes to be a good friend?

It seems that many single people, among others, struggle with their place in God’s kingdom, often times comparing themselves to others, not exploring their spiritual gifts, and perhaps even letting the world pass them by. Here’s insight from Creeker Adam M.: “One of the biggest challenges [of being single] is not missing out on the world around us and living life to the fullest, learning to be satisfied. What it means to be satisfied and content is really important and not allowing ourselves to be obsessed with that one specific facet and miss out on life.”

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

  1. The Apostle Paul weathered many difficult situations in life. These were places he didn’t want to be in, yet he made the best of all situations and was blessed as a result.

Question: What kind of attitudes or beliefs define the contentment that Paul talks about below? How can we learn to be content with whatever we have?

Philippians 4:11-12 (New Living Translation)
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

Answer:

 

 

  1. There’s so much wisdom in realizing that how we think impacts our feelings and actions.

Question: Why should we let God transform our thinking? How does the transformation of our thinking impact the rest of our lives?

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
Elisa shared in the video this past weekend her thoughts. What kind of attitude does she carry in her heart and mind? If you relate to her desire to be married, what would it mean for you to trust God and find satisfaction, even now?

“Ultimately it comes down to trust – do I trust God with my life? Will I allow Him to guide me through? No matter what, He will be my God, He will be that satisfaction.”

 

 

Does knowing the most important thing, that God loves you and wants you to focus all your attention on your relationship with Him, change how you view your relationship status?

“It is when we focus our attention on Jesus and trust Him that we find contentment.”

 

 

What spiritual gifts are you using? How can you use these gifts to honor God regardless of where you are in life?

“I have so many gifts because I’m single. I have the gift of the spontaneous yes, so when I have a friend that is hurting I can go have that cup of coffee right now. If I have a friend who is moving, I can go help them move.” – Marsha

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do? Ask God to help focus your attention on Him, to help you continually grow in your walk with Him and to not to let life pass you by. If you are not using your spiritual gifts, pray for guidance as to where God wants you to use them.

 

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO 2/18– Why You Don’t Want What You Think You Want

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

WEDNESDAY – Why You Don’t Want What You Think You Want
Big Point: Seek God first.

My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God.

– Author Unknown

The last couple of days in the LivingItOut we’ve covered Psalm 37:4, in part because we often live this verse backwards. We pursue the desires of our heart, thinking it will help us feel closer to God, but it doesn’t work. We get caught up in chasing the things we want and that ultimately leads us further and further away from God and the things He wants for us.

Instead, we need to direct our praise toward Him, delighting in who He really is. If we truly love God before anything else, seeking Him first, we will want what He wants for us, too.

Pastor and best-selling author Tim Keller talks about this: “Augustine taught that all people seek happiness, and they attach themselves to things they believe will make them happy. That attachment is experienced as love. The main human problem, however, is that, because of sin, we misidentify what will make us happy…the result is disordered loves- loves ‘out of order’.

…We either love what we ought not to love, or we fail to love what we ought to love, or we love more what we should love less, or love less what we should love more…The ultimate reason for our misery, however, is that we do not love God supremely…If you love anything at all in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations, and it will eventually break your heart.”

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

  1. The book of Matthew was written to reveal Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews and from the line of David. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, the Sadducees and Pharisees (religious leaders) were trying to test Jesus’ authority to teach in the Temple by asking him lots of questions, intending to capture him breaking the standing religious laws.

Question: Jesus counters the religious leaders not with their religious laws, but by re-focusing them on what the priority should be in life. Why does Jesus call us to love God with each area of our being instead of just our heart?

Matthew 22:37 (New Living Translation)
Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”

Answer:

 

 

  1. The Gospel of John is filled with discourses describing Jesus’ divinity and takes us behind Jesus’ ministry, where we get a glimpse of what it means to believe in Jesus as flesh of the eternal and living God. Jesus is our source of light and life. In the following verse, Jesus talks with a woman who had been in and out of numerous relationships with men – all ending badly.

Question: We’re all thirsty for love and connection, but sometimes our thirst can lead us to “drinking” from the wrong sources. How can Jesus Christ meet that need?

John 4:14 (New Living Translation)
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.

Answer:

 

 

 LIVE… What will you do now?
When have you loved someone or something more than you’ve loved God? What satisfaction did you hope to experience? Did you feel fulfilled?

 

 

Is there a time when you truly loved God first in your life? During that time period, how were your other relationships impacted? Were they richer or less satisfying as a result of your focus on God?

 

 

What can you do today to truly love God first in your life, with all of your heart, soul and mind?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you follow His greatest commandment as you strive to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Ask Him for forgiveness for when you failed to put Him first and loved other things more than Him.

 

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO 2/17–Desires of Your Heart

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

TUESDAY – Desires of Your Heart
Big Point: He will give you everything you need.

 

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

-John Piper

From the “love at first sight” of Disney, to the instant attractions and chance encounters of Hollywood, our culture teaches us from a very young age that sex and attraction are the same as love. Just turn on the radio and listen to any Top 40 song. The message is the same. We’re made to believe that chemistry is everything—and if you don’t have that, you might as well forget about it.

The science behind instant attraction is fascinating. Top neurological researcher Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in New Jersey has proposed that we fall in love in three stages: lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage has it’s own set of chemical reactions within the brain.

However, as Gary Thomas, author of The Sacred Search, points out, the chemicals released in the brain that are associated with lust only last for the first 18 months of a relationship and then start to wane dramatically. After they are gone, what are you left with? If the instant attraction pulls us in and then is gone in a year and a half, where is the “happily ever after” in that?

The key is to prioritize and, if necessary, rearrange your desires. God made us to desire. He created us with wants and needs, with wishes and dreams. However, He desires for us to always put Him first. If our main desire is for God, then everything else is a bonus. If we live righteously for Him and keep our focus on Christ, we can find true contentment in any stage of life.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

  1. To delight in God is a privilege. What does it really mean to delight? Here are some synonyms: enjoyment, pleasure, happiness, joy, enchantment, satisfaction.

 

Question: Another way to think of delight is to “draw from”. What are the ways God would have you delight or draw from Him? 

Psalm 37:4 (New Living Translation)
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Answer:  

 

 

  1. In Matthew 6, Jesus gives so much wisdom for us! Jesus tells us in this passage that if we seek first the kingdom of God, He will take care of everything else.

Question: How does that statement tie in with finding delight in the Lord?

Matthew 6:33 (New Living Translation)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE….What will you do now?
God wants our relationship with Him to be the top priority in our lives. However, we can so easily get caught up in our desires for worldly things that He can quickly move down the list.

 

 

As we delight in the Lord, we will inevitably encounter some difficulties which don’t feel delightful, right? What relationship struggle are you facing today?

 

 

How does focusing on God reduce our relational struggles?

 

 

Look at the synonyms for “delight” again. Close your eyes and picture having that kind of relationship with the Creator of the universe. What does that look like?

 

 

How often can you say that you truly delight in the Lord? How could having that delight in our hearts at all times cause us to be more fully satisfied regardless of our marital status?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God for His unending love and affection for you. Praise Him that He desires to be in relationship with you more than anything. Ask Him to reset your priorities so that He comes first, above all else. Ask Him to give you true delight and satisfaction in Him so that He can be glorified.

 

 

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO 2/16 -SERIES: Meant to Be: Satisfied

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

Choose a pleasure less ordinary.

-Dove Chocolates

#madewithlove

 

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and, depending on your relationship status, it might have been a great weekend or it may have been the loneliest, most depressing day that you’ll experience all year.

But, there’s always chocolate! Did you know that 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold during Valentine’s week? One of the most popular varieties, Dove Chocolate, features a message inside of each foil wrapper. If you were at a CedarCreek Campus this weekend, you received a piece of Dove Chocolate and that message inside is called a “promise message”. Dove includes these messages as a reminder to us to love and care for ourselves. The cool thing about the promise messages is that they’re focused on the individual and encouraging the individual in the moment. Open a piece of Dove Chocolate and you can be encouraged by one of those messages, no matter your relational status. (No, your LivingItOut team doesn’t have stock in Dove Chocolates, but most of us do LOVE chocolate!)

This weekend we kicked off a new series, “Meant to Be: The Bible’s Best Kept Secrets about Sex, Marriage and Being Single.” Ben Snyder started by talking about “Secret #1: Be Satisfied” in a message that was geared toward the 47% of our CedarCreek audience that is single or single again. At the beginning of his talk, Ben asked us to open our Dove Chocolate and read our promise message to the person that we came with or to the person next to us. We hope that you picked up on the tension in the room for those who were alone. How often do we take our marriages or relationships for granted? Too many married couples focus on the negatives in their relationship, but that simple exercise reminds us that there is a kind of blessing that comes from being connected relationally. Marriage isn’t the ultimate relational goal, but it does come with certain blessings that many singles desire.

We know that singles often feel that churches cater only to married couples, leaving them feeling left out. Whether it’s another relationship series or marriage classes, often the misimpression is that marriage is the ultimate relational goal in life, and the pressure to marry can be crushing if the year passes without the exchanging of gold bands before God and man.

But this message is intended to be a blessing for those of you who are navigating life as a single individual. The Scriptures speak to singleness and identify the blessings and the purpose just as the Scriptures speak to married life, too. We hope that you lean into this week’s study and we pray that God illuminates and blesses you as a result. For married individuals, there’s lessons for you, too!

Throughout this series, we’re going to be addressing these questions: How do we live in relationships and experience them as God intended them to be? What do those relationships look like and feel like? How do we keep relationships from just becoming life dictated by a bunch of rules and live out of the abundance of God’s perfect plan and design?

THIS WEEK’S STUDY IS ABOUT THE BLESSINGS AND PURPOSE GOD HAS FOR CHRISTIANS WHO HAPPEN TO BE SINGLE.

MONDAY — Delight in the Lord
Big Point: God’s heart always keeps your best interest at heart.

 

True faith means holding back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His promises.

-Francis Chan

If you are single and searching, are you worried that God won’t give you the desire of your heart: a spouse? It’s okay to admit it. Let’s face it, whether you admit that fear or not, your concerns about whether or not God’s going to come through for you in this area of life can play out in your actions.

Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Yet for many of us, our primary concern is “What if we delight in God and He still doesn’t give us what we want?”

The Bible is filled with stories of individuals who wanted something, like Abram and Sarai, who wanted to have children, but couldn’t. Instead of waiting on God’s timing, they created their own solution and drama ensued as a result.

What about you? How has your journey to find a spouse (or, if you are married, to change your spouse) played out? Have you been living off “Plan B” (i.e. bars), just in case God isn’t available to get the job done?

Today we’re talking about what it means to “delight” ourselves in God and how following that focus blesses us in the short-term as well as the long-term. By the way, this applies to married folks as well!

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

  1. While the Old Testament book of Psalms is known for words of thanksgiving and praise, Psalm 37 is actually a “Maschil” or a “teaching psalm” intended to instruct. This particular Psalm tells us not to be worried or discouraged by sinners who seem to be prospering by ignoring God’s laws or sovereignty.

Question: What does Psalm 37:4 mean for us relationally, no matter if we are married or single?

 Psalm 37:4 (New Living Translation)
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Answer:

 

  1. The Apostle Paul was teaching new believers and took the time to provide specific instruction to single individuals, validating and elevating the value of their singleness when it comes to their faith.

Question: While being single isn’t easy, what blessings of singleness does Paul identify for both single men and single women?

1 Corinthians 7:31-34 (New Living Translation)
31 Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away. 32 I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. 33 But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. 34 His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.

 Answer:

  

LIVE… What will you do now?
During this weekend’s message, you heard from a group of individuals serving in various capacities at CedarCreek. Each of these single individuals carries a unique life story and purpose. Here is Randy’s perspective on his life:

 

SINGLES—

  • What are some things that you are able to do at this point in life that you wouldn’t be able to do if you had a husband or wife?

 

  • Are there some specific connections or blessings you regularly experience that maybe you’ve underestimated because you’ve been focused on finding Mr. or Mrs. Right?

 

MARRIEDS—

  • How do you inspire or encourage the single individuals in your life to be all that God has created them to be? What can you do to affirm them as individuals rather than always asking them “Are you dating?”

 

CHALLENGE: Invite a single individual in your life out for coffee or lunch and just listen. Make sure to ask him or her how you can pray for them.

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Where you do need to delight in God? Today is a wonderful day for you to reflect on how God delights you—just because of who He is and how He blesses your life. Tell God about where you delight in Him.

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO for the Week of 2/16 -SERIES: Meant to Be- Satisfied

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

LIO 2/13– Don’t Pass Go…

 

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

FRIDAY– Don’t Pass Go…
Big Point: When the Lord asks us to GO, we GO and for his glory.

Christ-followers realize they have been commissioned by the Lord himself to go and spread the Good News of Jesus, his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead for the forgiveness of sins. Each follower has the responsibility to pray for lost people, reach out to them, and then share a verbal witness of what Christ has done.

We are well aware of the lack of Christian witnessing that goes on in the church at large, so we have created an environment that is conducive to allowing unchurched spiritual seekers to come and investigate the claims of Christ at their own pace. We put large amounts of time, talents and financial resources toward attracting these “seekers” to church. Each Christ-follower plays an important part in our strategy to win these seekers to Christ. By serving during our weekend services and inviting friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members, the members of our church team up to spread the Gospel

With the end of our “Get In Shape” series, we have all the pieces in place to reach our ultimate goal of living a more godly life in 2015. It starts with planning to attend church regularly, then connecting with God through prayer and through His Word throughout the week, connecting with other believers, sharing God’s Word together and serving, then committing to greater and greater levels of generosity and service to ultimately go wherever He calls you to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

READ, THINK and LIVE…

  1. Our memory verse for January helped give us focus and clarity for what God would have for us as devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Question: What are the benefits God promises?

1 Timothy 4:8 (New Living Translation)
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. 

Answer:

 

  1. When we GO, sharing the Gospel and moving forward to do the important work God has called us to do, it’s important to not lose sight of the ultimate goal.

Question: What does this verse remind us about why we do the work we are asked to do?

Luke 2:14 (New Living Translation)
Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.fri2 13

Answer:

 

 

With all this in mind, what will be your next step? (Attending church regularly? Serving? Getting connected to a LifeGroup? Becoming a Missional Member? Taking part in an aspect of the PEACE plan?)

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Commit your next step to God, then ask for Him to lead the steps that follow as a result.

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

  1. This weekend Lee spoke about the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20. Read the verses again and, in your own words, explain what the Great Commission is to you.
  2. When we know that the Lord Himself has chosen us to spread the Gospel, it isn’t a matter of if we share, but when and how we share what Christ has done. What method have you used to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission?
  3. Many are fearful to share their faith – afraid they will push people away. Do you feel that way? If so, how can you overcome that fear? If not, why has fear not been a factor?
  4. The PEACE plan is not only the vision for our church, but also for anyone who desires to be a part of God’s plan. How will you become personally involved in Planting Churches, Equipping Leaders, Assisting the Poor, Caring for the Sick and/or Educating the Next Generation?
  5. We started the “Get In Shape” series with the goal to live a more godly life in 2015. With all the pieces now in place, how will you live this goal out in the days to come?

February 2015 Memory Verse:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

 

Weekend Updates!

Daily Bible Reading Plan: You can sign up for a daily personalized Bible reading plan to be delivered right to your inbox. Visit YouVersion.com or Biblegateway.com to select a reading plan today.

Financial Peace University (FPU): Are you tired of running out of money before the end of the month? Do you make enough money, but still feel broke? Join us for Dave Ramsey’s nine-week video seminar, Financial Peace University. Over 1 million families have taken Financial Peace University and discovered financial freedom! Learn how to beat debt and build wealth during this nine-week class. Class dates and times vary by campus. For more info or to register, visit CedarCreek.tv/fpu

Next Weekend: Join us for “Meant to Be—The Bible’s Best Kept Secrets about Sex, Marriage, and Being Single”.

TONIGHT! Celebrate Recovery: Find support and encouragement at Celebrate Recovery at 7pm at all campuses except Findlay. CedarCreek.tv/celebraterecovery

Have some feedback? Email questions or comments to MarnaW@CedarCreek.tv

Want to find out more about the Living It Out? Check out tons of free resources or have this study sent directly to your daily email. Set your web browser to:www.livingitout.tv

RESOURCES:

Forbes.com

CedarCreek Missional Membership Bible Study

Christianityinview.com/biblestudies

 

This week’s Living It Out written by:

Barb Roose

Marna Ward

Martha Preckler

Sherry Rollins

Mary Jo Sutton

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO 2/12– Our Vision: PEACE Plan

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

THURSDAY– Our Vision: PEACE Plan

Big Point: The PEACE plan is our vision of how to GO.

peace

         Christianity In View has a study on peace explaining that the word “peace” in the Bible, from the Greek word “eireinei”, refers to both a “…mental attitude of tranquility based on a relationship with God in the Christian way of life, and a personal peace with God which comes when a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior.” In fact, there is daily peace available to the believer participating in the Christian way of life according to the plans of God! How do we know the plans of God? It’s through the actions of Jesus and the teachings of the Scriptures. It’s through our mission and vision that we hope to tie together the teachings of Jesus with what living the Christian life looks like for all those who call themselves devoted followers of Christ. Our mission is what gives us the vision to GO.

OUR MISSION:
To help spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

 

OUR VISION: The PEACE Plan

Plant Churches  

Equip Leaders

Assist the Poor

Care for the Sick

Educate the Next Generation

 

THE PEACE PLAN

The PEACE plan comes directly from Scripture. Look over the verses for each part and consider how they lay out God’s plan.

 

Plant Churches

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.

 

Equip Leaders

2 Timothy 2:2 (New Living Translation)
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Assist the Poor

Proverbs 14:21 (New Living Translation)
It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor, blessed are those who help the poor.

 

Galatians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.

 

James 1:27 (New Living Translation)
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

 

Care for the Sick

Matthew 9:35b (New Living Translation)
And he healed every kind of disease and illness.

 

Matthew 25:39-40 (New Living Translation)
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 brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

 

Educate the Next Generation

Psalms 78:5-7 (New Living Translation)
5 For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, 6 so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—and they in turn will teach their own children. 7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
Many people often associate mission and vision statements with corporate settings, but why is it just as important to have a mission and vision for our church?

 

What part of the vision of the PEACE plan is most inspiring or exciting to you?

 

Pick an area of the PEACE plan where you could GO and write out what that looks like.

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God for the privilege to be used by Him for His purposes. Pray for our church mission and vision and ask Him where He would have you participate.

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO 2/11—Two Motivating Forces to GO

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

WEDNESDAY—Two Motivating Forces to GO
Big Point: You won’t GO unless you believe what’s at stake.

 

From the sense of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ, hopefully, through my story, through all the improbables and the miracles that happened in my life, people are inspired or at least a little bit warmer to the idea of exploring who Jesus is.

- Jeremy Lin, NBA player

This past weekend, Lee talked about different facts of peace. When peace is mentioned in the Bible, as one study puts it, “[It] refers either to the reconciliation of a Christian in salvation, or the mental attitude found in the believer as a response to God’s grace.” To understand how critical the peace is that Christ brought for the repentance of our sins, we have to go back to our correct response, the acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice as the only way to have peace with God. If we choose to reject God’s offer of eternal life with Him, there is a dire consequence—the reality of hell. Even though you may hate to think about it, hell is a real place and real people go there. There are many people in your life who will face a Christ-less eternity if they don’t find forgiveness in him. The stakes are high and eternity is hanging in the balance.

In contrast, a second and rewarding reason for becoming an effective ambassador for Christ is the joyous celebration that occurs when someone comes to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. What an incredible thrill if someone you have been praying for looked you in the eye and said to you, “Thanks for being faithful to what God called you to do and reaching out to me. Thanks for praying me out of my rebellion and loving me when I wasn’t all that loveable. Jesus saved me, but thanks for leading me to his cross.”

Once you have led someone into a relationship with God through Christ, you will never be the same. The passion to reach out grows each time you experience the joy of watching a seeker become a devoted follower of Christ. Absolutely nothing in this world compares!

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

1. These verses remind us of the reality of what eternity is without Jesus Christ as our personal savior.

Question: As you read the following two passages about hell from the Bible, what things do you learn about hell and what feelings do you experience?

Matthew 13:41-42 (New Living Translation)
41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 And the angles will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Answer:

 

 

Revelation 20:15 (New Living Translation)
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. 

Answer:

 2. In contrast, we receive many privileges and advantages that come with faith in Christ.

Question: What does the “peace with God” that Paul talks about in this verse mean for believers, both for our life on earth now and into eternity?

Colossians 1:20-22 (New Living Translation)
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Answer: 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
What is the biggest motivating factor for you to share your faith?

 

 

Does the reality of hell motivate you to share your faith? If so, how? If not, why do you think it has no motivational power for you?

 

 

The English Standard translation of Acts 10:34 says Peter “opened his mouth” to share this new understanding he had. What prevents you from opening your mouth and sharing your faith with someone who doesn’t understand? What can you do to overcome that?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Pray for those who were part of leading you to Christ. Thank God for their obedience and faithfulness to what He had called them to do. Ask Him to provide opportunities to grow those same qualities in you so that you can continue what they started.

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

LIO 2/10– 3 Ways to Make a Real Connection

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

TUESDAY– 3 Ways to Make a Real Connection
Big Point: The Great Commission becomes real when we go first.

If you spent 100 percent of your waking hours thinking about how you can help absolutely everyone you come in contact with — from the woman who makes your latte, to the top authority in your industry — you will find everything else tends to take care of itself. 

- Scott Dinsmore

 

Making connections may be one of the big obstacles you are facing in becoming involved in the Great Commission. It is sometimes difficult to find the time and energy to build new relationships, but as Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend, points out, “I don’t care what your goals, industry or interests are, there’s no getting around it: Personal relationships run the world.” He goes on to outline pillars of making a connection, and they are always the same. Whether it’s applied to your next-door neighbor, a big celebrity, or someone you’re sharing your faith with, it all comes back to helping others. Here are the top 3 ways to connect:

  1. Be genuine. The only connections that work are those you truly care about.
  2. Provide massive help. Too many people never reach out due to the fear that they can’t offer enough. Instead of pre-judging the value of whatever help you can give, simply embrace being a blessing. There are many small ways to create big blessings.
  3. Pay ridiculous attention. It is nearly impossible to genuinely help if you don’t pay attention—learn about peoples’ backgrounds and passions. Invest genuine time in learning what really matters to them and how you can help.

To fulfill the Great Commission, we must then take the next step of letting people know why we care for them—because of all that Christ has done on our behalf. This is a natural outcome when your life is fully devoted to Christ.

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?

  1. When people see the good things you do without making the connection to your faith in Christ, then their faith can be misplaced.

Question: Why is actually sharing the message of Christ, not just living a good life in front of others, absolutely necessary to see people come to know Christ?

Romans 10:14-17 (New Living Translation)

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.

 

Answer:

 

  1. One reason it can be difficult to share the message of the Gospel is because we aren’t ready; we haven’t put it into our own words. Understanding the message of the Gospel is the first step to GO. Or, if you are a long-time believer, maybe the message needs refreshing so it’s as new to you as when you first heard it.

Question: Read each passage below and paraphrase the important points that each one has to teach us about the Gospel message.

Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Romans 10:9-10 (New Living Translation)
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 (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.

 Answer:

 

LIVE… What will you do now?

Who should you be actively praying for, and connecting with, for the purpose of sharing the Gospel with them? List their first names:

 

BE PREPARED!

We never know when an opportunity to share the Gospel will present itself. Get prepared by taking a few moments now to construct a concise presentation of the Gospel message.

Here are some things to think about. We encourage you to write out a paragraph in your phone so that it’s close by just in case the opportunity to share your faith happens.

  • Describe what your life was like before coming to faith in Christ. (Hopelessness, regret, shame, apathy, lost, sad, depressed)
  • Talk about the moment when you realized that you needed to place your faith in Jesus Christ. (Were you at church? Did a friend talk to you? Reading your Bible?)
  • How has your heart, mind and life been transformed since coming to faith in Christ?
  • What Bible verses can you use as part of your Gospel presentation?
  • MAKE THE ASK! It’s good to share your story, but you also need to extend an invitation like: “Would you like to have Christ come into your life so that you can experience the same hope and forgiveness that I have? 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to make the Great Commission real to you. Ask Him to place people in your path that need to hear the Gospel and to help you be the one to share it.

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

 

 

 

 

LIO 2/9 -SERIES: Get In Shape: Go

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

On December 3rd, 1992, a
22-year-old Canadian test engineer sat down and typed out the first very simple text message, “Merry Christmas” and we haven’t been able to stop since.

- Eric Limer

 

The first text message was sent on December 3, 1992, which means that texting is just a little older than all those 18-21year-olds who use it the most. Did you know that over 6 billion text messages are sent each day?

Whether you text, use a messaging app like KiK, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, the motivation is to instantly reach the people you want to connect with in your life. Sometimes, it’s to establish new connections. Other times, it’s to maintain existing connections. And, let’s not underestimate the power of texting to wreck or repair a connection. In fact, Buzzfeed, an internet news media outlet, has some great examples of infamous break-up texts from folks who weren’t brave enough to handle that job face-to-face.

Of all the messages that we send each day, the most important ones have to do with the things in life that matter most—relationships, love, connection and purpose.

In our final week of the “Get in Shape” series, Lee talked about how Christ-followers are called to GO! We are called to take the gospel message to everyone in the world—not just close to home, but to every area of the world.

We are all messengers. In every aspect of our lives, we, like text messages, drop into a variety of situations and circumstances. These encounters often give us the opportunity to share the message of Christ with others. Now you’ve probably never thought of yourself as a text message before, but you really are. As your daily business carries you from home to school or work then to the gym or grocery store, you engage in conversations with possibly dozens of different people. In each of those conversations, you have the ability to share what Christ has done in your life and how he can change and transform their lives.

As a church, our collective GO is best described by the acronym PEACE, created by Saddleback pastor Rick Warren. In his weekend message, Lee outlined the different facets of the PEACE plan and how Jesus’ call to GO breaks down strategically for us into Planting churches, Equipping leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick and Educating the next generation. As many of us have committed to living the godly life in 2015, we are also committing to sharing the gospel message wherever we can, Educating the next generation of believers. If you look at the different aspects of the PEACE plan, you should realize that when we insert ourselves into each of these areas, we will impact those we connect with and those connections create opportunities to share the gospel message.

Friends, if we don’t choose to “GO,” essentially we are telling Jesus “NO!” Instead, this week when it comes to joining in His work of bringing hope to a dark world, ask God to open your eyes to what it means for you to be a part of His big “GO!”

 

THIS WEEK’S STUDY IS ABOUT HOW “GO” IS PART OF REACHING OUR 2015 GOAL OF LIVING A GODLY LIFE.

 

MONDAY Calling All The Messengers
Big Point: After becoming a Christian, the instruction is to go.

 

Like a hero in a dream/Christ came and he rescued me/now I’m gonna tell the world/tell ‘em everywhere I go/yeah I’m a billboard/cast it like a radio/tell the world/you oughta’ know/I’m brand-new.

- Lecrae, “Billboard”

 

Just a few weeks ago we revisited the “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. On that day in August 1963, Dr. King called people back to live out the dream and hope of equality for all and to make it reality. If his words sounded inspired by the words and actions of Jesus, they were. Dr. King often pointed out that what inspired him was Jesus’ redemptive suffering and his Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus’ suffering was so that the hope of salvation and freedom for all people would become reality. The Bible records Jesus’ hope for the world a number of times, but articulates it most clearly in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We call Jesus’ command The Great Commission and this powerful command is the cornerstone behind everything we do at CedarCreek.

Our vision, our mission, our core values, strategies, ministries – even our membership process – are designed to help unchurched and restless people meet the loving God of the Bible, to begin a relationship with Him, become conformed to His character and then grow in obedience to all that He has asked us to do. It is the reason why we exist as a church. IT’S OUR DREAM!

 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
1. In Acts 1:6-8, Jesus makes it clear that God plans to use His followers to spread the message of salvation. Like the apostles, we can get distracted by other things but Jesus gives us clarity in verse 8.

Question: What is the laser-focused mission for all believers who profess faith in Jesus Christ?

 Acts 1:6-8 (New Living Translation)
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 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:

 

 

  1. Ever since sin broke it, God has been reestablishing our relationship with Him. Paul is teaching here that it’s already done by Christ; however, there is still something we have to do as a result.

 Question:  What message of hope is contained in these verses? What does Paul teach still needs to happen?

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (New Living Translation)17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Answer:

 

 

LIVE… What will you do now?
The Great Commission can feel almost too big to actually do, until we remember how someone obeyed these words and impacted us personally.  Who followed the Great Commission and showed you this in your life? In what way did they follow it and how did it impact you and your faith?

 

 

How do you feel knowing that God’s plan to reach the world involves you being His messenger? Where are the places you know that God wants you to be a messenger?

 

 

What distracts you from obeying the Great Commission in your life? Choose the one biggest distraction. What are the steps you can take to overcome it?

 

 

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
2 Corinthians 5:18 says God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him. Ask God to use this verse to help you see the people in your life and how you can be the messenger to them today.

 

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.

 Thanks for reading today’s daily devotional! We encourage you to enhance your spiritual growth 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.

2015 Memory Verses

April, 2015
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
Ephesians 3:20

March, 2015
"I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark."
John 12:46

February, 2015
“ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1

January, 2015
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8

Past Memory Verses

Click here to download the 2014 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2013 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2012 Memory Verses.

Click here to download the 2011 Memory Verses.