Woman in the Mirror – The Adventure of You

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We are in week 2 of our series The Adventure of You. Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder taught the story of Rahab and how her faith led to action. She stepped into the challenges that presented themselves and trusted that God would save her and her family. She acted with BOLD faith believing that God would protect her.

Like Rahab, many of us have raised our hand, volunteering for something we didn’t understand. Something that was new, different, and definitely outside our comfort zones. And with some reflection, often we come to the realization that it may not have been our plan, but it certainly fit into God’s.

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher. But I was only four weeks into my first college education class when I realized that my public speaking anxiety was going to be a detriment. On the advice of a counselor, I switched majors and, eventually, universities to pursue a career as a computer systems analyst, which better fit my personality.

Fast forward several years, a husband, and three children—I volunteered to be the PTA president of my children’s school. In this capacity, I attended meetings with other district leaders and was exposed to district-wide problems and decision making. Eventually, my role led me to become a member of the Board of Education. As a school board member, I gained knowledge of academics, funding, policy, and district operations. I also became aware of the roles that the community, state, and federal governments play in education. After my service, I was asked to become a member of a board that sponsored charter schools across the state. Gaining additional knowledge, I found differences and similarities between the two types of educational systems, yet a common purpose to educate children.

During each transition, I found myself doubting my abilities and questioning if I was in the right place. Time and time again, I realized that although I had failed at my original plan to become a classroom teacher, God trusted me with more. No way was this path in my plans, but God has shown me that I matter. And I can hardly wait to see what’s next!

Learning about Rahab has reinforced my belief that sin doesn’t interfere with God’s willingness to use you to advance his kingdom. No matter what you’ve done, God wants you and recognizes your importance. God  never gives up on you or discards you. God wants you to have an important role in his plan. Are you ready for the Adventure he has for you?

Isaiah 43:19
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

Questions:
Has there been a time in your life when you felt like you didn’t matter? Did you come to the realization that God had a plan for you? Do you understand that an inconvenience is a door, not a dead end?

Next Steps:
Step outside your comfort zone. Don’t make the mistake of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Make a change.

As Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” says,

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Do something. Educate yourself. Help someone. Be kind. Believe that you matter to God.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for bringing me to CedarCreek and to the realization that no matter how I’ve sinned, you have a plan for me. I matter to you. Amen.


This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and five grandsons.


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A Long Time Coming – The Adventure of You

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Rahab lived a hard life to survive a harsh existence. But then, instead of sticking with what she knew, she risked her life to save the Israelite spies. As a result, God blessed her with a good life among his people and placed her in the lineage of Jesus Christ (See Joshua 6 and Matthew 1:5). Now THAT’S an adventure … uncomfortable and life changing.

My adventure came years after I repented and asked God to forgive me. I accepted the gift of eternal life with him through Jesus’ paying the terrible price I owed for my rebellion against God. Then, after 23 years of marriage to a wonderful man and raising two boys, my 60-year-old husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

For the next eight years of my life, my focus was on providing Gary with the calmest, most stress free life imaginable. My older brother even moved in to help me. There were too many hurdles and miracles in this adventure to detail here. Although at times it was terrifying, the entire experience was a joy and miraculous blessing. Why? Because God doesn’t allow anything into the lives of his children for no reason.

Early on I prayed, “What is the lesson, Lord?” His answer was to pick us up and carry us through and over every difficulty. He used every (what should have been negative) circumstance to purify and strengthen us and bless others with the peace he gave us. The One True God did it all. He taught me it was safe to trust him and go wherever he led us. He brought social workers, institutions, and doctors to bless us every step of the way. He even sent the sheriff’s department to give Gary a GPS “watch” for us to find him in case he got “lost.”

God also used CedarCreek. Luke Shortridge was the Whitehouse Campus pastor at that time, and he observed that Gary was hard to miss: tall, handsome, possessing a winning smile and a bemused expression (courtesy of Alzheimer’s) at all times. So Luke invited us to become members of the Greeting Team. We could bless people with our friendliness. The whole team enthusiastically agreed and lovingly helped. Gary received a lanyard, and his job was to smile at everyone he saw. Sometimes he would wander off, but since the whole team kept a close eye on him, he never got too far.

Gary loved Luke.  Every Sunday, he would walk up to Luke, multiple times, with a big smile on his face and say, “I know you!” You see, even in his illness, God chose to use Gary to be a blessing to us all. A great adventure indeed! God carried us, his helpless lambs, using many others and our forever family at CedarCreek to escort Gary to the end of his life here on Earth and into his own loving arms for eternity.  

Questions:
How do you respond to the hard times in your life? Do you ever think of yourself as a victim?

What does the story of Rahab teach us about the hard choices we make today?

Next Steps:
We have all lived, or are living, through trauma, hard times, illness, or  the death of loved ones (pandemic or no pandemic). These events are traumatizing, and if we aren’t careful, we may look inward instead of upward.  If you have had, or are having, problems coping with events in your life, make an appointment to speak with your campus pastor for direction out of your personal darkness and into the light of Christ. Draw near to God.

Also, check out Celebrate Recovery at a CedarCreek campus near you. See cedarcreek.tv for more information.

Lastly, we want to hear the story of what God’s doing in your life! Go to CedarCreek.tv/adventure for more information on how to share your story. It could be used to inspire others – and, when you share your story, you’ll be entered to WIN some adventurous prizes!

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for the greatest adventure of my life (so far) and for never taking your eyes off your little ones. Thank you for using me to show everyone your love and presence, especially through the hard times. And thank you for demonstrating you can and do use us in our weakness and infirmities to reach people with your message and salvation. In Jesus’ name I 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.


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?

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Seek First His Kingdom – The Adventure of You

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Though our life adventures start at birth, I think my adventure began in earnest when I started graduate school. I went to a private Christian college, and through many prayers in the night, bumps in my path, and shed tears, I discovered occupational therapy. It was perfect for me. It required a master’s degree, so I finished my BA in psychology and happily packed my bags for the Glass City. As my parents drove away, I felt utterly alone and afraid. I knew virtually no one in this city. I prayed, called my mom all the time, and read my Bible for comfort.

I knew that God had placed me in this school for the time, but I was ready to leave Toledo before I had even started. I was so lonely. I was desperate to find a community. I went from a private Christian school surrounded by godly friends with professors who prayed in class to a secular school all alone. I had one contact that invited me to her church. It was small and awkward, and she rarely attended, so I felt alone and out of place. I found another church, but it left much to be desired as well. The message was good, but there was no one my age to connect with. Through much of my first year of graduate school, I floated between the two churches but never felt at home.

Finally, almost out of desperation, I recalled what my acquaintance had said about CedarCreek. She said some students really liked it, but it was big and different than most churches. My thought when deciding to attend CedarCreek was, “If I’m going to be ignored, I would rather be ignored in a big church.”

During my first service, someone sat next to me, and I wanted to cry. Everyone was very kind, and I felt so welcome. The church offered Groups for guests that were post-college aged, and I filled out a card to connect with one. A couple weeks later, I was attending a Bible study led by my future husband and found a network of people that soon became the friends I needed to pull me through the next five years.

Fast forward 10 years: I was working full time at a job that I enjoyed, pregnant with my fourth child, and trying to decide what to do with my career. I had devoted so much time and energy to obtaining my degree, but with soon-to-be four children (5 and younger), I could barely keep up with the part-time schedule I was working. Around the same time, my husband and I decided that homeschooling our children would be the best option for our family. I had absolutely no intention of homeschooling when I began having children, but it suddenly seemed like the only option. I quit my job and became a full-time mother. We began our homeschooling journey out of fear, but gradually, it has morphed into a place of blessing and beauty.

I am still in what many call “in the thick of it,” homeschooling five children ranging in ages from 10 down to almost three. However, I can see how God has taken me one step at a time through the events of my life that have begun to unfold my story. Each of the defining moments of my life were bathed in tears, steeped in Scripture, and covered in prayer. I felt lost at each of these life milestones, and sometimes, I felt paralized with fear.

What if I was making the wrong decision? What would happen if I need to go back to work someday? What if I don’t teach my children everything they need to know?

When these fears flood my mind, the verse that brings me comfort is Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.”

I know that as long as I am seeking after God, he will provide for my every need. He will direct my path. He will provide for my family.

Questions:
As you look back over your life, what has gotten you through the difficult times?

When approaching a trial, where do you turn?

Do you have a verse that reminds you of God’s faithfulness?

Next Steps:
If you do not have a verse memorized that helps you through the difficult times find one. Matthew 6:25-34 are rich with promises and great places to start.

We want to hear the story of what God’s doing in your life! Go to CedarCreek.tv/adventure for more information on how to share your story. It could be used to inspire others – and, when you share your story, you’ll be entered to WIN some adventurous prizes!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for leading me along paths that stretch me and make me fall on my knees before you. Thank you for the comfort found in your word and through prayer. Open my eyes to the ways you are orchestrating my life to create a heart fully devoted to you. Help me not to despair when it looks like things are falling apart around me but remain steadfast in your never-ending love. Amen.


This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.


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?

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Wrestling with Growth – The Adventure of You

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The Adventure of You. This series is all about how God has worked in your life. You matter to him. You’ve been created to do great things! He takes us on some awesome adventures—and some hard ones—challenging us to grow through them. That’s what this life is about. He knows when to hit the music and shine the light center stage.

Isaiah 43:19
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks? Long before I found my faith, I was a reserved, anxious kid. My home life caused me a lot of anxiety, and I thought I needed to escape. My big plan … the Marines.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect and love for those serving our country. But it quickly became evident that I had the wrong motives. There’s a lot more to being a Marine than getting tougher and getting away from home. When the recruiter took me to my Dad’s to sign off on my enlistment papers (I was only 17), my stepmom offered a little insight. She’d had a relative in the military, so she knew and respected the service. At the end of the night, there was no signature, rather, an option to think on it until I was 18.

A few weekends later, my dad and stepmom took me to an independent professional wrestling show. My stepmom and I were fans. During the show, it was mentioned that they were accepting trainees. What!? This was opportunity knocking. One problem—I was too nervous to go talk to them.

My stepmom, never being shy of words, gave me a good nudge to open up. I finally worked up my nerve to talk to the promoter, and within a month, I had started training. Six months later was my first match.

Over 10 years later, my wife and I met at a show I worked on. When I look back, it’s easy to see that God shut the door on the Marines, but man, did he open up more doors for me. Four years after we met, we were baptized in October, and last February, we were married.

Through ups and downs and highs and lows, God paved a road for me to find him, find my wife, and go through this adventure called life.

Questions:
What’s your story? How has God challenged you? How have you grown?

NextSteps:
Share your story. Whether telling someone, blogging, or streaming, you have an opportunity to connect with someone that God will speak to through you, through your experiences.

We want to hear the story of what God’s doing in your life! Go to CedarCreek.tv/adventure for more information on how to share your story. It could be used to inspire others – and, when you share your story, you’ll be entered to WIN some adventurous prizes!

Prayer:
Father, thank you for your grace that is fully sufficient and perfected through our hard times. You’ve promised your help and may we hold tightly to that, casting our fears to you. Lord, guide us as we take steps toward the adventure you’ve planned for us. Let us not be discouraged from doors that may close, because you are faithful to open the ones for our good, and your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by TJ McCroskey, a first-time contributor to the LivingItOut.


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?

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Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Faith and Risk – The Adventure of You

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As Joshua prepared to lead his people across the Jordan River, he sent two men to scout what they were walking into. The men went to Jericho, where they stayed at the house of a prostitute named Rahab. The king of Jericho ordered Rahab to hand them over. She took a huge risk and lied to the king’s men, telling them that Joshua’s men had left, when really, she had helped them hide.

When all was clear, she told Joshua’s men that she had heard about all of the miraculous things God had done for the Israelites. She said, “The Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). She asked them to promise to spare her and her family when the Israelites arrived.

Hebrews 11:31
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

They kept their promise. Rahab was spared because of her faith, and her life’s trajectory changed dramatically. After this, she married and gave birth to Boaz, both of whom are listed in the Bible as ancestors to Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

My kids have an awesome book that tells the stories of the Bible through the perspective of the people who lived through them. It’s called Friends with God Story Bible: Why God Loves People Like Me, by Jeff White. In Rahab’s section, the author imagines that Rahab would tell us, “I’m living proof that God doesn’t work only through the strongest, or the wisest, or the most famous. When I think about all the bad things I’ve done, I’m probably the least likely person God would want in his family. Yet God chose me. God let me be a key part of his grand plan. I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Rahab’s faith led her to take action, and God saved her and blessed her because of it. Every adventurer faces a challenge that feels insurmountable. Every choice you make has “hard” in it. It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone, and it’s hard to take a risk, but it’s also hard to stay where you are. Stop trying to avoid hard, and start choosing the hard that will move you forward.

Questions:
What adventure is God calling you to right now? Are the risks holding you back?

What is your typical reaction to “hard?” Do you tend to avoid it or run toward it? What has happened as a result?

Next Steps:
Read Joshua 2 for Rahab’s story. Then read the book of Ruth. If it weren’t for Rahab, we wouldn’t have Ruth and Boaz’s story. Reflect on what would have been different if Rahab hadn’t risked for God.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for the story of Rahab. Though it is a small story, it makes a big impact. It teaches us the value of risking for you, and it shows us that you love doing big things through unlikely people. Help us to recognize the adventure you’re calling us to, and give us the strength to say “yes” to risking for you. Amen.


This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a blogger at GratefulSheep.com and a stay-at-home mom and wife. She loves writing for this team, and she hopes to help convey God’s message through this 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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan