God Opportunities to Move You – The Adventure of You

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Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder wrapped up our series The Adventure of You by unpacking the story of Esther. The crucial word in the title is YOU.

You are given opportunities from God to move you toward what moves him. However, these opportunities are not all about you. Rather, they put into perspective what really matters. Ben tells us that we are here on purpose for a purpose. Once we realize that, we are able to move toward what really matters—what matters to God.

What do you think will be important 100 years from now? It won’t be all the stuff we have accumulated on earth; it will be our relationship with God and our relationships with all the people God has put around us. We are given God opportunities to make an eternal difference in people, just like Esther did.

Esther 7:2-3
2 … the king again said to Esher, “Tell me what you want, Queen Esther. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!” 3 Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared.”

This was not a simple request for Esther to make of the king. Esther could have lost her life since the king had not requested her presence.  Esther accepted a God opportunity that set off a chain of events that would make heaven more full. Events that wouldn’t resume until 30 years later when a cupbearer named Nehemiah was given the opportunity to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to where a priest delivered a message whereas people returned to Israel and established their country again. About 400 years later, Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem, lived a perfect life, and then sacrificed himself for our sins, which made it possible for the whole world to be saved. None of this would have happened had Esther not accepted God’s adventure for her life and saved her people.

WOW! It is realistic to say that Esther had no clue her act of courage with King Xerxes would produce so many crowns in God’s Kingdom.

1 Thessalonians 2:19 (emphasis added)
After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is YOU!

Questions:
What God opportunity have you been invited to step into today? Are you willing to accept the invitation?

Are you using your life to make heaven more full? If not, say yes to a God opportunity and see what happens.

Next Steps:
Consider reading Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. This book has topped charts, sold millions of copies, and been translated into 85 languages. I highly recommend it!

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for giving us the God opportunities that move us closer to what moves you. Open our eyes so we may see these opportunities, and grant us the courage to live them out. Make us a movement of people that seek kingdom crowns. In your Son’s holy name, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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An Invitation For Your Presence To Be A Present – The Adventure of You

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Do you ever reflect and wonder about some of the opportunities that passed you by? I’m not suggesting to live in the past. Rather, consider the blessings you may have missed that could have made a world of difference. It’s time for each of us to start believing that God created us to aspire to be more.

Too often, we think that our talents, gifts, and blessings are for us alone. “But talent is a common thing. People waste it every day. They abuse it. They take it for granted. Success comes not from what God has given you but from what you do with it.”

I would like to say that’s a brilliant quote from someone like Nietzsche or Maya Angelou, but it’s from the movie “Gladiator”—no—the lesser-known “Gladiator” movie from 1992.

Imagine if the riches from King Xerxes and the admiration of the people had been enough for Esther. Going from orphan to queen, who could blame her?

Esther 2:17-18
17 And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. 18 To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder mentioned that it’s our abundance of things that sometimes keeps us from seeing God’s opportunities. But opportunities from God are always bigger than you.

Esther 4:14
“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

God opportunities are always more significant—even when we’re already thinking big with our gifts and blessings. Former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo was attending Georgetown University with a great purpose in mind. Coach John Thompson saw the 7-footer and offered him a basketball scholarship. When Mutombo turned him down, stressing that his desire was to become a medical doctor and save lives in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, Coach Thompson presented him with a bigger opportunity. He said with the money earned from playing basketball, Mutombo could go home and build hospitals that would save even more lives.

Coach Thompson may have spoken the words, but the opportunity came from God. In 1997, while still in the prime of his NBA career, Mutombo’s foundation built a $29 million hospital in the capital of his native home. By 2012, the hospital had treated close to 500,000 people.

What is the opportunity God is inviting you into?

Questions:
How do you spot God opportunities in your life? Do you feel unhappy or lacking when you keep blessings to yourself? How do you use your gifts from God?

Next Steps:
Take GrowthTrack to help unlock your spiritual gifts and start using them the way God intended. Use your time, energy, and extra blessings to make a difference in your community. If you aren’t sure of what to do, seek out different organizations and ask them what they need from you. Join a Group or positive social media groups to participate in various projects.

Prayer:
Father God, first, thank you for blessing me each day. I am humbled by the grace shown from the blessings and opportunities I have squandered in the past. Continue to show me new ways to use my talent in the world, and thank you for giving me the confidence to share and grow a gift that I used to keep for myself. Allow me to continue to grow as a blessing as my faith continues to grow in you. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Operation Obstacle – The Adventure of You

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Most obstacles are “God opportunities” in disguise.

It is easy to miss potential when all you are focused on is your own problems.

As someone who was a workaholic, using work to escape, I should’ve been humbled in January 2016. An injury put me on the shelf for four months. But, I healed from the injury and got back to work elsewhere, leaving the company I was with. I gave up on my previous job. When I was given the option to return to work, I turned it down. I saw a challenge and walked.

Similarly, in January 2021, extenuating health issues forced me out of work for four months. It was nothing short of humbling. Although I once again found myself in the midst of a challenge, I didn’t run, and I received many blessings in return. I suffered with some form of angst, yet I received great care. I suffered debt, yet I received income. And every need I encountered was met with fulfillment.

In my previous situation, I let my anxiety get the best of me and lost sight, focus, and track of my blessings. By the grace of God, with every life-giving meeting and opportunity to serve I’ve been presented, I’ve grown. He’s blessed my path with life-speaking people and experiences, from CedarCreek Groups to DreamTeams.

Now, the same business I’d given up on before recently opened a shop in Toledo with plans to open several others in the area. I just happened to come across a listing after searching for positions I knew to be within my skill set (and within my limitations). Of course, I applied … and I just started working there this past Monday! They are growing in an area that God has prepared me for through my experiences over the last four years.  Finding Jesus has positioned me to be a light in this new market.

Ben shares that there will be moments on your faith journey when you can’t see God. But you must trust that, even when you can’t feel him … you can faithfully move forward, knowing HE is still involved. Just because you can’t see his name, doesn’t mean he’s left the game.

Most obstacles are God opportunities in disguise.

The obstacle you are experiencing today might be God inviting you into something new. An opportunity to make a difference.

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

James 1:2-3           
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

Questions:
What’s your obstacle? How is it challenging you? How will you lean into your heavenly Father to see what he’s showing you?

Next Steps:
If you haven’t already, complete GrowthTrack to help you discover God’s purpose for you. If you’ve completed GrowthTrack, find a place to live out God’s plan for you. It could be a DreamTeam or a new situation you may be avoiding.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you are my source. No matter the obstacle, I will count it a blessing. I will rest in the knowledge that you are doing work. You’ve promised to always finish the work you started. You always illuminate my path, like a lamp to my feet. I trust in you through thick and thin. No obstacle is too big for you. You always go before me so I know I can handle what you allow in my path. All glory to you through your Son. Thank you, Father. Amen.


This post was written by TJ McCroskey, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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The Unexpected – The Adventure of You

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Do you have any embarrassing memories that, no matter how hard you try to forget, always seem to creep back? I went to a Christian school in fourth grade where we had a weekly church service. The speakers typically passed out candy if someone answered a question, but I was always too nervous to raise my hand. Well, one fateful day, a certain Bible verse was shown on the screen, and the speaker asked where the verse could be found.

Without thinking, I raised my hand and blurted out, “The Bible.”

Of course it was from the Bible! I felt so embarrassed when the teachers began to laugh. Obviously, they wanted to know the specific book in the Bible. After that experience, I wasn’t willing to raise my hand again for quite some time.

For a while, this memory brought on shame and humiliation. But it didn’t have to be a source of such feelings. It kept me from participating because I was afraid of messing up again.

This past weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about a very important person in the Bible—Esther. If you fast forward to the end of the story, you see how she bravely saved her people, the Jews, from genocide. But at the beginning, you would not expect her to be a hero.

Esther 2:5-7
5 At that time there was a Jewish man … whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. … 6 His family had been among those who … had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. 7 This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.

Esther was not only an orphan but part of a people in exile, making her a slave as well. Who would have expected that she would save the Jews? She had a lot more to carry around than a grade school mess-up.  But God loves to choose the unexpected.

1 Corinthians 1:28
God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

God chooses people “counted as nothing,” people who are unexpected. He chose Esther, and he wants to invite you into an adventure as well.

Questions:
Are there any memories that weigh you down? Is there anyone you can share them with, any way to find freedom from that voice of shame?

Nest Steps:
Share something that has been giving you a false identity with someone you trust. Or take it a step further and join a group that will help you find freedom from sins in the past. Ask God to use you in his adventure.

Prayer:
Father, there are many things in my past that weigh me down. I give them all to you. Please use me in your incredible story. Help me listen to anything you have to say, any steps you want me to take. Thank you for choosing me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Lydia Snyder. Lydia has been a story-lover for as long as she can remember, often found reading books or writing. She is thrilled to be making a difference by inspiring others to take part in the best story ever – God’s story. Lydia lives with her three wonderful siblings and two amazing parents.


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You Want Me To Do What…?! – The Adventure of You

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Have you ever seen the movie, “300”? It is nasty and violent, but the bad guy is the same King Xerxes described in the book of Esther.

King Xerxes married a beautiful Jewish girl named Esther. After years of living like a rock star in the palace as Xerxes’ queen, Esther’s cousin and guardian, Mordecai, asked her to intervene for all the Jewish people living in Xerxes’ empire, who were slated for extermination. King Xerxes was one powerful, ungodly man.

Years earlier, Esther’s adventure started when she was orphaned  then adopted by her cousin Mordecai. They lived in the same town as Xerxes. After the king became mad at his wife, he sent out minions to round up the most beautiful women in his kingdom so that he could choose a new queen. Of all the women he saw, Xerxes fell madly in love with Esther.

Life was wonderful as the queen of Persia—great food, nice clothes, and people who obeyed Esther’s every command. There was one rule, though: anyone who showed up at the King’s “office” uninvited was killed.

So why were the Jews going to be exterminated? Xerxes’ top aide,  Haman, hated Mordecai for refusing to bow down to him; Mordecai would only bow to God. In retaliation, Haman told King Xerxes lies about the Jews and convinced him to order that all Jews living in the empire be murdered on a particular day of the next year. When Mordecai heard this, he told Queen Esther to convince the king to rescind his order or all their people would die. (Incidentally, she never told the king she was Jewish, or related to Mordecai.)

Enter God’s Big Adventure for Esther. How does she respond to being asked to approach King Xerxes without having a prior invitation? She tells Mordecai, “No.” Remember—it’s a guaranteed death sentence!  Mordecai is having none of her nonsense, though, and tells her:

Esther 4:13-14 
13 “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. 14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Mordechai’s admonishment set her on God’s great adventure for her life. It was then that she began … well, it’s a great read, so let me know how you like the ending.

Questions:
Have you ever asked God what his plan is for your life?

Does your life reflect your true God-given titles: “Child of the King” and “Servant of the One True God?”

Are you looking for the opportunity God is inviting you into?

Next Steps:
Fast, pray, and listen for God’s response when you ask him to reveal your Big Adventure. Then embrace it, and trust God to fulfill his plan for your life.

Prayer:
I praise your holy, perfect name, Lord. You are the great “I am” not “I was” or “I will be.” You are forever whom you say you are: the Creator of all that ever was and will be, our Abba, and King. Please, forgive me for letting fear and selfishness keep me from serving you with all my heart and strength. Help me to remember life on Earth is only temporary, but as your child, you promise I will be with you forever in eternity. Help me to keep that focus and live “on purpose,” serving you however you ask me to. In Jesus’ powerful name we pray. Amen.


This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.


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Spiritual Blindness – The Adventure of You

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With absolutely no effort at all, it is possible for me to “get lost” perusing greeting cards. I have always been of the opinion that messages presented on greeting cards should say exactly what the buyer means. As in, not “close to” what you mean or not “close enough” to what you mean, but “exactly” what you mean. Admittedly, accepting “close enough” is often required.

I likely would be dumbstruck if I were to see accurate data stating the amount of time I have spent reading card after card, looking for the “exact” message for the intended recipient. Were I to know how quickly that heartfelt, sincere greeting card was discarded (pun intended) by the recipient, I may have abandoned the effort I put forth to find it, but I sincerely doubt it. So often, then and now, cards given are Hallmark. “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best,” why would you purchase anything else?

It is no different with God. He offers his best to us through heartfelt, sincere messages—penned by men inspired by God. By reading his greeting card/love letter to us, the Bible, he reveals himself and makes known his desire to have us embark on the great adventure he has planned for us.

The ingredients of this great adventure, as shared by Lead Pastor Ben Snyder, are uncovering, challenging, clarifying, and achieving. The adventure he has planned for us is dependent on our choosing to show up and participate! Sitting on the sidelines as a spectator keeps us from experiencing first hand his plan(s) for us.

One of the countless, meaningful messages God has for us, better than any Hallmark card, is referenced in Proverbs 29:18.

Proverbs 29:18 (MSG)
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed”.

Like the apostle Paul, the former “Christian killer” turned “Christian converter,” we can step in and do best what only we can do! Truly, God blesses us beyond measure when we attend to what he reveals. We can stand confidently, knowing God means what he says and he says what he means!

Questions:
What keeps you from participating in the great adventure God has planned for you? What obstacles need to be removed from your life’s path? Do you need to change paths? Do you lack a personal relationship with God?

Next Steps:
Stop resisting God. Surrender to God, knowing he is faithful and trustworthy. Read John 1 and Proverbs 29:18. Pray that God clearly reveals what he is doing. Pray for strength to stop stumbling all over yourself. Pray for courage to attend to what God reveals.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, forgive me for stumbling all over myself at times and failing to see what you are doing. Open my spiritual eyes to see with clarity what you are doing. Give me courage to step into the adventure you have for me. Allow me to genuinely sense your strength in me when doubt and fear try to take over. Help me to enjoy the journey as I place my complete trust in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Karen Peck. Karen retired in March 2018 from Lucas County Information Services. She has been married over forty years. Karen rejoices over God’s faithfulness and God’s patience in her life and in her marriage. Nothing matters more to Karen than her relationship with God and her entire family. Her immeasurable faith in Christ and His ability to restore the broken runs deep within.


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Only You – The Adventure of You

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The Adventure of You is the title of the series that Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about again this past weekend. Throughout this series, my mind has been focused on two words in the title, “adventure” and “you.” This weekend’s message really made me realize the importance of the second big word, “you.”

The truth is that the adventure of you only starts if you step into it. Additionally, that adventure only lives on if you continue to ask God what’s next and continue to seek the next chapter in the adventure he has planned. If you think your story is insignificant or that God doesn’t have a plan for you, consider this.  If he had a plan for a Christian persecutor like Paul, he has a plan for you.

I was raised in a good, strong Christian home. I grew up in an Evangelical United Brethren church. I can’t remember a moment in my life when I did not believe in Jesus and what he did for me. I first accepted him into my life at age ten. I’d like to say that is when my adventure started, but it wasn’t. Even though I professed to be a Christian, there are many times in my life I did not live like one. Yes, I had brief adventures in church where I helped teach Sunday School or volunteered in areas or worked with the Youth Group, but mostly I was just going through the motions. I never experienced the ingredients that make for a great adventure—uncovering, challenging, clarifying, and achieving.

I was only focused on achieving what I thought was the “Christian” thing to do. Since attending CedarCreek, I can honestly say, even at age 67, my eyes are much more open to the story God has written for my life. I have started living the true life-changing adventure he has planned for me. I am in the middle of my adventure, where I have been through GrowthTrack (uncovering my purpose), challenging myself by publicly announcing my faith through baptism, joining some groups, and writing for LIO. I am now clarifying what is best that only I can do.

When you start an adventure, it is easy to get caught up in wanting to do it all. I’m going to lead this, and help with that. I’m going to be everything for everyone. This can lead you away from the true purpose and calling that God has planned for you. That is when you need to sharpen your “no.” You need to take time to clarify best what only you can do. When you do this, it may mean you have to say no to some things that may be good and just, but may also distract you from God’s plan in your adventure. Every yes is a no to something else, so give yourself permission to say no to the things that sidetrack you from your planned adventure.

How do we know when to say no? Take the time to listen to God’s voice, that little internal whisper, that gut feeling, so to speak. How do you know you are on the right track in your adventure? When you begin to experience life changes in yourself and those around you, your greatest accomplishment might not be what you do, but rather who you influence. Whatever your calling, it is important to do best that which only you can do, and say no to what may distract you from accomplishing it.

Ephesians 2:10
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Questions:
Have you truly stepped into your adventure story?

Do you believe God has an adventure planned for you? He does!

Do you feel like your story is too insignificant to share? It’s not!

Next Steps:
If you haven’t done so, go through GrowthTrack to help you define your purpose.

Remember, you must step into your adventure. God is calling.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the open invitation of a life-changing experience with you. Help me to seek and understand the adventure you are calling me into and to take the time to experience all the ingredients of that adventure. Help me to uncover my purpose, accept the challenges I will face, clarify what only I can do best, and sharpen my “no” to things that may distract me from my purpose, so that I may achieve all that your life-changing adventure has planned for me. Thank you, Father, that my story is significant no matter how great or small. Please give me the courage to share it with others. In your holy name I pray, amen.


This post was written by Ned Miller, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


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Put Value in Your Faith – The Adventure of You

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A few weekends ago, my brother-in-law brought up my remarkable (in my mind at least) past prowess on the basketball court. My wife’s eye-roll signaled my nephew to protest the mentioning of my former glory that only served to inflate my ego. Reliving those days reminded me of the attention to detail that went into playing for “bragging rights supremacy” among friends. Dedication to my craft, the wisdom of the game, and creativity were a few values that I used to achieve my purpose. I also implemented those core values for playing in a team atmosphere. Looking back, I had many of the same core values when answering the different callings I wanted in my life.

Thinking about the transformation that happened to Paul when he went from (Saul)—a self-righteous persecutor of Christ followers—to an apostle who wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. This made me realize that Paul’s core values were similar in both walks of his life. What changed was how he used those core values after clarifying his God-given calling.

1 Peter 4:10
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

Saul used a great deal of zeal, wisdom, and passion in his violent quest to destroy Christians, until his encounter with Christ on the road to  Damascus. But once faith overtook his religious convictions, he finally started using those core values to benefit God’s purpose.

Everyone’s true calling is unique. When I stopped running from my calling, I dedicated myself to learning and growing. The wisdom I gained continues to push me forward in creative ways. Dedication, wisdom, and creativity are some of the values that I hold true to myself. Amazingly, I get to use my values to serve something greater than anything I could imagine. We should all hope to use our principles to lead us BACK TO YOU.

Questions:
How do you operate in your daily life? Do your values help to serve more than yourself?

Next Steps:
Take GrowthTrack to help clarify the values important to you.

Use your values to shape your purpose by paying attention to the things that go against your intuition.

Prayer:
God, it is so special how you turned the violent nature of Paul into a life-changing movement that continues to serve your purpose today. Let all of us understand that it’s never too late and we are never so far gone to be out of your line of sight. Your reach is great enough to lead us back to you. Your love is the adventure we all need. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Clarifying Your Calling – The Adventure of You

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We all have a number of things we want to do and accomplish in our lives, but there are many reasons we can’t do it all. One reason is we simply don’t have time to do everything we want. Another reason is we don’t have the ability or capacity to do everything. And the third reason that Ben pointed out this past weekend is that if we say yes to everything, it will negatively impact our ability to do what we were created to do best— our calling.

When we realize our calling, and how our gifts and abilities help us accomplish it, we should maximize our efforts toward this purpose.  How do we do that? We sharpen our “no,” because a Purpose-Filled NO creates space for an IMPACTFUL YES.

Today we will look at the first step in sharpening our “no”: writing a calling statement. A calling is a strong urge toward something; it is the mission or purpose for your life.

To write your statement, first take the time to pray. Ask God for wisdom and clarity about the purpose he has for you and how it will glorify him. Thank him for who he is and for the uniqueness he has created in and for you.

Write about your story, your passions, and your dreams. As you think about your story, start with uncovering. What important transitions and important events have happened? Then think about challenges. How have they clarified your mission? Once you have processed this, write a one sentence statement that will help you focus on your calling. It does not have to be perfect today. This may take time to develop.

If you go through this journey of writing out your calling statement, you will benefit from the adventure it takes to get there.

I am not quite sure what my calling statement is yet, but I am figuring it out with you and using this as a step to trust and lean on God more. I encourage you to do the same.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding 6 but acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.

Questions:
What important thread in your life has given you the most purpose?

Why do you think the journey is difficult?       

What do you have a hard time saying no to, even though it does not give you purpose?

Next Steps:
Take this next week to process through your story, then write out your statement.

Share it with someone.

Post it somewhere where you see it as a reminder every day.

Prayer:
God, you have a purpose for our lives that is meant to glorify you. I pray that through my uniqueness and story I will always be mindful of your calling for my life. That through this statement, I will think about the role I can play in other people’s lives. It is a hard process, but I don’t want to miss out on the most important part of an adventure. God, you never said faith, or the adventure, would be easy, but I believe that it is worth it. In Jesus’ name, amen!


This post was written by Rebecca Roberts, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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Series Theme Verses
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John Reading Plan


If I Told You My Story… – The Adventure of You

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Many people think they do not have a story, but I am not one of them. Jesus Christ radically changed my life in so many ways; I don’t have space for them all. I certainly was not like the apostle Paul, adhering to all the laws and rules! Beginning with my unplanned pregnancy at 19, I ran from God until the age of 43, doing whatever I thought I needed or wanted to make myself happy! If you had asked me what would make me happy, I’m sure I couldn’t have told you. But I pursued “it” to the detriment of my children, family, and other relationships. Somehow, I managed to work and support myself and my kids (2 by that time) through two marriages and two college degrees. I finally came to the end of myself one night in my patrol car. Listening to Christian radio, I encountered Jesus.

Acts 9:3-9  
3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

My Damascus Road experience happened on Lallendorf Road, in Oregon, Ohio, Feb. 16, 1994. Thankfully, since I was driving, the Lord did not take my sight! But he did lift the burdens and baggage I had been carrying all those years. That was the day I began the grand adventure that he has had me on ever since!

I got involved at Grace Evangelical Church, where my Ananias (see Acts 9:10-18), Lee Powell, was the associate pastor. Lee helped me to clarify my mission, and for the past 27 years, it has been to help women realize and live out who they are in Christ. God has turned all my experiences from my years of destructive living into a ministry of compassion, guidance, and encouragement for women who, like I did, are now walking through tough times.

God gave me the honor of being one of the founding members of CedarCreek Church. From that point on, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I’ve been doing what God planned for me to do with my life. I join with Paul, and countless other committed followers of Jesus, in saying:

Acts 20:24
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

God taught me that when you do what you are created for, you will see meaningful change in your life and in the lives of those around you.

To do this, we must learn about the gifts God has given us and focus on them. We must allow him to heal and transform the experiences we have lived. We must reach out to  the people he puts in front of us. It can be overwhelming, but over the next few days, we will talk about how we can put definition to it all!

Questions:
Does your story include turning the leadership of your life over to King Jesus? If not, why? If not now, then when?

Next Steps:
If you have trusted Jesus to lead your life, your next step is a public declaration through baptism. The first weekend of every month, we hold baptisms at each campus. If this is your next step, go to cedarcreek.tv/baptism to register. If you have not participated in GrowthTrack yet, it is a great place to begin to discover the adventure God has for your life. You can find out more at cedarcreek.tv/growthtrack.

Listen to: “If I Told You My Story” by Big Daddy Weave.

Prayer:
O Father! Every time I think of the day you rescued me, it brings me to tears! I am so grateful that you waited for me. I am so grateful that you pursued me into the far country where I had run from you for so long! Thank you for protecting me and my family from the most horrible consequences of my sin! Thank you for redeeming me and them by your amazing grace! I worship you and praise you!

You are my King! You are my Lord! You are my Savior! I live for you and your pleasure. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan