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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Comfort is an Excuse for Less – The Adventure of You

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My cousin said, “We’re going skateboarding down Danger Hill.” My brothers and I were up for the challenge, but before long, I limped back to the house with a bloody knee, a chipped tooth, and a scratched-up pair of new glasses, all courtesy of a parked car. Not bad for my first trip to Washington, D.C. The nickname given to the street is the first indication of trouble to an adult, but kids only see the adventure that awaits them.

This weekend, Pastor Ben defined adventure this way.

Adventure: A bold undertaking, usually involving danger and unknown risks, that leads to exciting new experiences.

My adventurous nature continued through my adolescent years—up to the moment I had a fully developed frontal lobe. Some antics will remain unspoken, while others are looked back on with Kevin Harlan’s voice in my head saying, “with no regard for human life.” But something happened. I got older and lost my desire for the hero’s journey.

There was comfort in my complacency. Whenever fate suggested something more, I made excuses to hold onto my comfort. I hid from the idea of needing more, allowing others’ expectations of me to disqualify my capacity of God’s intended purpose. Years spent hesitating out of fear and a lack of self-worth kept me from jumping into God’s adventure.

That all changed when, as an adult, I reacquainted with a friend who became my wife, and together, we started the best adventure. I finally had the courage to continue the story God planned for me. I erased the fear of discomfort by leaving my job, getting married, becoming an instant father, and moving from Ohio to D.C. (the place of one of my favorite childhood adventures). Everything happened in less than five months!

Our new series teaches us to push past the voice in our heads that demands comfort and questions our capacity to get to the next step in our lives. Adventures aren’t easy, and sometimes, we need to step out in faith to get started. Eight moves and 13 years later, my wife’s and my adventure continues through our trust in God.

Questions:
Read Luke 5:1-11. When do you see Peter step out of his comfort zone in this story?

What’s keeping you stagnant in your life, or what has kept you in the past? Are you ready to surrender to God? Do you know what God is asking you to do?

Next Steps:
Stop making excuses for not growing in faith and life. Pray for guidance if you aren’t sure what’s next. Take GrowthTrack to help discover your purpose. Retake it if you’re stuck in a season of uncertainty.

Prayer:
God, thank you for keeping me safe when I was reckless with the trust you had in me. I pray that I continue to move forward with faith when the uncertainty of the present pulls me back. Remind me that great things may result from taking risks, and that I’m not alone should I stumble. Amen.


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


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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Give It (Control) Up! – The Adventure of You

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It is impossible to fully know the adventure God has planned when stepping onto a path he has arranged. Were the entire adventure revealed upfront, the likelihood is great that many would choose to take a seat and wait for another option. No doubt, I have cowardly failed to experience some adventures he planned, but I do vividly recall several life-changing adventures he arranged.

One such adventure began in 1998—his answer to one simple, heartfelt prayer offered upon my graduation in 1996. It clearly was according to his timetable, not mine. In record time, the wisdom in fastening my spiritual seatbelt and fully placing my trust in Jesus became apparent—no doubt about it. There was no room for fear or doubt on this trip, only faith—genuine, unwavering faith in God.

Were it not for the assurance that he had arranged the career path I entered, the adventure would have easily ended before its time. Much like Peter availing his boat to Jesus, there was no way of knowing the adventure God had in store for me. Yet, knowing he was with me in the adventure made it possible to stay for the long haul, even in the midst of intense discomfort.

Had I bailed on this adventure, I also would have abandoned many opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. A quick look in the rearview mirror brings into clear focus that his plan for me was good—in every challenging situation that arose! Leaning into the reality of needing God’s strength daily is never wasted.

This weekend Ben Snyder shared 4 things that kill our adventures. These “Adventure Killers” include: complacency, control, comfort and capacity.  Focusing on the second one, control, it indeed can be deadly. Giving up control and trusting him daily became my defining moments. Often, it was only when I gave up control and got out of his way that he led me to the path I never noticed. At times, that path required me to respect, honor, and follow direction, even when I disagreed. Other times, that path required me to speak up, making known the obstacles around the bend. I can honestly say there was never one moment of boredom on that adventure—for that I give him praise! When the time came for it to end, he made it abundantly clear. My last weeks of employment were bittersweet as I reflected, with deep appreciation, on the amazing adventure God had arranged!

It is my sincere hope that you, too, can embrace this week’s bottom line: See YOUR PLACE in GOD’S STORY.

Questions:
Read Luke 5:1-11. At what point in the story did Peter give up control to Jesus?

What keeps you from trusting God with your future? Are you afraid to relinquish control to him?

Next Steps:
Choose to consider opportunities to step into the adventure God has planned for you. Participate in GrowthTrack to understand how God has wired you for his purpose. Attack any “control” factor by renewing your mind with the Bible and its truths/promises. Increase your trust in him and the plan he has for your life by growing your relationship with him. Surrender to him and trust him in all things!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for always being available when I come to you in prayer. Forgive me for taking a step toward you and then taking two or three steps away from you. I choose, this day, to trust that you have another adventure for me to take. Give me the courage to leave my ideas and plans at your feet, trusting you will reveal the next adventure you have planned for me. Give me clearness of vision as you reveal your perfect will and perfect plan for me. 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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Never Too Late – The Adventure of You

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So far this week, we have learned about what a life adventure with God is. Today, I want to explore when Simon Peter first met Jesus—what seemed like a small request turned into a life-changing adventure Simon Peter could never have imagined (Luke 5:1-11). And I’d like to share my own story as well.

Jesus was preaching at the Sea of Galilee when he saw a couple empty boats and thought he could best address the crowd from the water. When Jesus first stepped into Simon Peter’s boat and asked to be pushed out into the water, Simon Peter had no idea what he was saying “yes” to. As Jesus finished teaching, he told Simon Peter to go to the deeper water and let down his nets. He followed Jesus’ instructions, and his nets overflowed with fish. At that moment, his eyes were truly opened to who Jesus was.

Luke 5:8
When Simon Peter realized what had happened he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.”

Luke 5:10b
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”

And just like that, Peter stepped into the adventure of God’s story. Note that it was not Peter inviting Jesus into his life, but rather, Peter left everything behind to follow Jesus and take on the life-changing adventure that God had planned for him.

I have no idea how old Peter was when this event took place, but it was truly a line in the sand moment from which he never looked back. All along the way, God kept inviting Peter to participate in his story.

He is asking you too. You see, the opportunity hasn’t passed no matter your age. Lead Pastor Ben Snyder referred to it this weekend as, “If you’re not dead, you’re not done.” This brings me to my story.

I was raised in an Evangelical United Brethren Church. I first accepted Christ into my life at age 10, and I spent most of my life afterward kind of going through the motions of being a Christian, with maybe a small adventure here and there. It wasn’t until after I started attending CedarCreek that I began to realize what a true life-changing adventure with God was. Now, at the age of 67, I have completed GrowthTrack, joined a couple of Groups, been baptized, joined the Prayer Team, and write for LivingItOut. Next, I’m planning to lead a Group! I never saw myself doing most of these things, and even though I am occasionally taken outside of my comfort zone, I have never felt more connected in my faith. And I am enjoying the peace that comes from stepping into the story that God had planned for me all along.

He is calling you too, inviting you to discover the Adventure of You and the purpose he has for you. How you respond to the invitation will make the difference between living the adventure God has for you or missing out on it.

Questions:
Have you truly stepped into a life-changing adventure with God? If so, are you living that adventure to its fullest challenge?

Next Steps:
Continue engaging in this new series, The Adventure of You. Share your adventure story with others.

Prayer:
Loving God, I am so thankful and grateful that you openly invite me into a full, life-changing adventure with you. Thank you for never giving up on me and keeping your invitation open at all stages of my life, no matter my age. God, open my eyes so that I might see all you have in store for me and encourage me, as Peter did, to say “yes.” I know that what may seem small at the moment has the potential to lead me into the purpose you have planned for me—all for your honor and your glory. Amen.


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


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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Everything You Need – The Adventure of You

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All through the Bible, we see the story of God’s love for humanity. He created us, invited us to be in relationship with him, rescued us when we strayed away, and now he’s inviting us to play a part in his story of love for the world.

That’s right. No matter who you are or what you have done, you have a place in his story. We were created on purpose for a purpose.

Personally, God has placed me in the role of father to three beautiful little girls that are growing up quickly. As their dad, it’s my place to teach them about God, share his love with them, continually point to him, and show them what it looks like to follow him.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Often, I feel like I don’t have enough time, wisdom, or energy to teach my girls well, and I start to believe that I can’t live up to what the role of a parent requires. This past weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder shared an encouraging verse to help us see that God doesn’t just give us a place in his story and say, “Good luck with that.” He wants us to succeed and gives us everything we need to accomplish what he asks us to do.

2 Peter 1:3
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

No matter what place God has given you in his story, he gives you divine power to live a life that will point others to him. You can know and live out the purpose he has for your life by knowing him.

As a dad, all my successes come from knowing God. As I understand who he is and the love he has for me, I am able to show my girls who God is and the love he has for them. And as I know him more, I can have the power to live a life that points them to him.

Questions:
Do you know your place in God’s story?

How does knowing that God gives you the power to live out the life he calls you to live change your perspective?

Next Steps:
Take one of these next steps to know God more: Attend the weekend service each week. Commit to reading the LivingItOut regularly. Read your Bible daily. Have intentional conversations with others about what you’re learning.

Share your story of what God’s been doing in your life! Go to CedarCreek.tv/adventure for more information on how to share your story with us.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for giving me a place in your story and for giving me everything I need to live out the adventure you have for me. Help me to know you more and grow closer to you today. Reveal the next steps I need to take on my adventure and help me love others well along the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of 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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan