Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.20.11

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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Courage Under Fire

THURSDAY — Are you “all-in”?
Big Point: The more “all-in” we are in our faith, the more courageous we will be.

     John the Baptist was an all-in kind of guy. There’s no getting around it—he was unique. John the Baptist wore odd clothes and ate strange foods and he lived and breathed to preach an unusual message. He was not unique for uniqueness sake. Instead, his priority was obedience and John knew he had a specific role to play in the world: to announce the coming Savior.
     This wild-looking man had no power or position in the Jewish political system, but he spoke with an irresistible authority. People were moved by his words because he spoke the truth, challenging them to turn from their sins and baptizing them as a symbol of their repentance. Those words of truth moved many to repentance and others to resentment. John even challenged a king to admit his sin. The king’s wife—his illegal wife—arranged to have John the Baptist killed and had his head displayed on a platter, but not even she could stop his message.
    Being all-in for your faith can’t happen without courage of conviction. Being an all-in Christian takes guts and the decision to live out your faith for God, no matter the cost. (excerpts from NLT Study Bible)

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 3:30 (New Living Translation)
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

About John 3:30… Being courageous for the sake of Christ does
take guts, but our courageous deeds mean nothing if we are trying
to do it on our own strength or for our own satisfaction.

Jeremiah 20:11 (New Living Translation)
But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Matthew 5:11-12 (New Living Translation)
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

THINK…Find the answers
Read John 3:30. How does this verse paint a picture of what it looks like to be an “all-in” Christ-follower?

Jeremiah 20:11 reflects the confident words of someone who knows God will come through even though persecution is all around. Matthew 5:11-12 tell us how to react when others make our life difficult because of our faith. What is the big picture that both verses encourage us to remember?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Reflect on John 3:30. Can you describe any changes in your attitude, beliefs or character that demonstrates that Jesus is becoming greater in your life? List one thing that you think you should work on so that Jesus is reflected more in your life.

If you have ever been persecuted for your faith—no matter to what degree—it’s tough! How have you handled the jabs you have taken for being a Christ-follower? How do you know when you are handling persecution in a way that honors God versus a response that isn’t? (If you have never been persecuted for being a Christian, how do you feel about that?)

List a couple ways that being hassled or teased about being a Christ-follower has strengthened your faith:

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
The path to becoming more courageous travels through hostile territory. The ability to travel that road requires less of us (our effort) and more of Christ (his strength). This is a great time for you to talk with God about where you are at when it comes to being “all-in” and how you can courageously live out your faith.

5:19 and 5:23 Asking for God’s guidance is how David enjoyed success. God does provide different strategies for success at different times, even though in our eyes the situation looks similar.
6:3 This time David failed to consult God before he moved the Ark.
6:9 “David was afraid of the Lord that day…” A hard lesson about the infinite holiness of God and the necessity of obeying His words completely.
6:13 This time David had the right instructions.
6:16 David’s love for God was unreserved. Hence his unusual worship was offensive to some, but he did not care.
7:1-17 God makes a covenant with David.
7:16 “… your kingdom shall be established forever…” Jesus ultimately fulfilled this promise as the “Son of David” who rules forever.
7:21 God’s loving character will always honor and keep His Word.
7:29 David understood that by praying according to God’s promise, he aligned himself with God’s will. We can too. Ch. 8 David makes further conquests and consolidates his kingdom.
8:6 “the Lord preserved David wherever he went” Make God your delight, as David did, and enjoy the same blessings.
9:7 David made a promise to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:14-17. He was now fulfilling it.
9:3 Mephiboseth’s feet were crippled. We are not sure about the deformity, but in the ancient Near East, crippled, handicapped and other persons with physical and mental disabilities would end up as beggars.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.19.11

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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Courage Under Fire

WEDNESDAY— Level 2 Christian: Convenient
Big Point: Being a convenient Christian isn’t bad—unless you never plan to grow from there.

Here’s a poem describing the very popular “Convenient Christian” category:


Oh yes, I am a Christian, have been all                                  
along. Just ask me and you will see my
faith is very strong.

But I must tell you, I am
A convenient Christian sitting on a shelf.
A convenient Christian living for myself.

I go to church when it is convenient for
me. But there is usually some place
else I had rather be.

You say there are things in church that I
need to be doing. Well, there are more
important things that I am pursuing.

Do I read the Bible? Well, yes, every
once in a while. But it is really not for
me, it doesn’t fit my style.

Do I support the church financially?
Of course I do. Every time I go to church
I give a dollar, sometimes two!

Talk to God? Well, that is very easy for
you to say. I’m too busy you know and I
really don’t have time to pray.

Tell my neighbor about Jesus? Oh
no, not me! That is what we pay the
preacher for, you see!

As always, I am …
A convenient Christian sitting on a shelf.
A convenient Christian living for myself.


READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 12:14 (New Living Translation)
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

Hebrews 12:11 (New Living Translation)
11No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Romans 12:14. What are we to do for those who persecute us? How do we bless someone who is making our life difficult because of our faith?

What are we not to do?

Have you ever heard someone say when disciplining a child “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”? Did you believe them? Hebrews 12:11 states that “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening.” But there’s also a “but.” What does the writer of Hebrews promise?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Being a “Convenient Christian” is not an ending place but a stepping stone to becoming an “all-in Christian.” Where in your life do you see yourself being a “Convenient Christian”?

Has God ever disciplined you for being a “Convenient Christian” and not giving Him your all? Where were (or are) you holding back? How did you sense that God was correcting you?

What steps can you take to move away from your faith being convenient for you to having an active “all-in” faith?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Look at your life as a believer in Jesus Christ. Ask God to show you areas in your life where you’re still placing yourself before God. Ask Him for help as you move from a “Convenient Christian” to an “All-in Christian.”

We’re going to unpack more of what it means to be an “all-in” Christ-follower tomorrow.

In the Hebrew Bible, first and second Samuel is one book, hence the feel that 1:1 starts in the middle of a story. 2 Samuel is about King David; being crowned king over Judah and over Israel, his conquests, his falling into sin and the last years of his reign.
1:1 “Amalekites” A nomadic people who inhabited Judah and Transjordan.
1:2 Tearing one’s clothing and throwing dirt on one’s head were outward expressions of grief in the ancient Near East. 1:10-16 The young Amalekite makes up a story to explain why he is in possession of the King’s personal items (crown and bracelet), but underestimate David’s response. This costly mistake results in the young man’s death.
1:26 Jonathan was David’s best friend during his years of service in King Saul’s place.
2:1 David asked God for His leading in the matter of where he (David) should live. A good example for us today: listening to God is essential to our walk.
3:8 This accusation against Abner is a very serious one, since an act of sexual infringement on the king’s harem would probably have been understood as a blatant declaration of aspirations to kingship. As such it was not merely a matter of ethical impropriety but an act of grave political significance as well.
3:37 David declared his innocence in the death of Abner and acted wisely by backing up his words. When our words and action match, everyone benefits.
4:9 David realizes that adversity is a setback from which we take our greatest leaps forward.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.18.11

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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Courage Under Fire

TUESDAY —Level 1: Selfish-Christian (… they do exist)
Big Point: Living selfishly is a direct reflection of the sin in our lives.

Selfishness can be defined as an excessive or exclusive concern with oneself.
Christianity can be defined as being concerned for others. Selfishness and Christianity do not mix! Read the following story. In what ways is Sean Hill selfish?

SELFISH WITH THE GOSPEL by Alfred Benjamin King
     Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there lived a man named Sean Hill. He was a intelligent man and he knew the ways of Christianity in a land where no one else cared. The people of the land were deeply rooted in sin. Sean didn’t bother to preach the gospel to them.
     He was satisfied that his family members were Christians; their salvation was secure. Unfortunately for Sean wherever the gospel is not preached evil thrives. The Devil and his demons had a field day because there was no one and nothing standing in their way. The people of the land knew that Sean and his family lived their lives differently from everyone else but since Sean never bothered to share the gospel with them, they never even had the chance to understand why they lived their lives differently. People tend to like people who are like themselves.
     One day the animosity towards Sean’s family grew so strong that a mob was formed and they took Sean and his family away from their home and brought them to the public square where lies where cooked up against them in front of the judge. After all the lies had been presented, the judge ordered Sean and his family to be executed. THE END

READ…What does the Bible say?
Philippians 2:3-4 (New Living Translation)
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

James 4:4-5 (New Living Translation)
You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?

Almost every sinful action
ever committed can be traced
back to a selfish motive. It is
a trait we hate in other people
but justify in ourselves.”
Steven Kendrick, author of
The Love Dare

THINK…Find the answers
In Philippians 2:3-4, there are three “don’ts” listed. What are they and what impact do they have on a Christ-followers ability to live out a courageous faith?

What are we to do according to Philippians 2:3-4?

The James passage makes you choose – friendship with the world or God. If you choose friendship with the world, what does that make you to God?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Today’s study is titled, “Selfish Christian.” No one wants to admit that he or she is a selfish Christian. However, this category of believers is more common than what we think. One characteristic of this category is the mindset: “What’s in it for me?” What are selfish Christians looking for? What are they trying to avoid?

Reflect on today’s opening story. Do you think things would have ended differently in the story “Selfish with the Gospel” if Sean Hill and his family preached the gospel instead of selfishly keeping it to themselves? What could have happened if they would have been courageous enough to share with their community?

Have you shared your faith with anyone this week? What about in the last six months? What is so risky—or so terrifying—about sharing your faith?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you become unselfish when it comes to sharing the Gospel and serving others. Also ask Him where He can use you this week.

32:4 “Rock” … The Hebrew term depicts God as a rocky summit where one may find safety and protection.
32:8 “…according to the heavenly assembly.” Original is “sons of God” Masoretic text (Hebrew text of Old Testament) … assume this refers to Israel and the LXX (Greek Old Testament) interpret it as heavenly beings, i.e. angels. As a result, there are various translations of the phrase in different Bible versions.
32:11 “Eagle stirs up nest and hovers over young.” When her fledglings are old enough to fly, but linger in the nest, she breaks up the nest to scatter them and allure them to follow her example. The Hebrew verbal form indicates a habitual or typical behavior. As the eagle fledglings enter untried air protected by the mother eagle beneath, so God will be beneath us as we step in faith into unknown territory.
32:21 “jealous” … The jealousy of God is not the spirit of pettiness prompted by insecurity we associate with the term, but rather a righteous indignation caused by disloyalty of His people to His covenant grace.
32:21 “false gods” … The Hebrews suggested the false gods are empty or futile. Solomon used the same word in Ecclesiastes: “futile, futile, everything is futile.” Chapter 33, Moses gives Israel blessings and goes tribe by tribe; very similar to Jacob (Israel) in Genesis chapter 49.
34:5-6 Moses dies and he is buried, but nobody knows for

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.17.11

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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Courage Under Fire

Picture yourself in this scene: You just completed a wonderful meal with your LifeGroup and right in the middle of concluding a rather deep discussion of 1 Peter, chapter 3, you hear a knock on the door. You quickly look at the LifeGroup member who owns the home and watch as they answer the door. You brush it off and go back to the conversation you were having but can’t help but overhear the dialogue that begins to ensue. It’s not a friend or neighbor at the door, rather, it’s the sheriff’s office inquiring about a tip that bible studies were frequently occurring in the home and that they immediately had to stop the bible study or else be fined.
What? You may think “what a crazy scenario … that would never happen … at least not in America today.” Well, “POP!”…(consider that the sound of your reality bubble bursting. Sorry if that hurt).
Just four weeks ago, the Los Angeles times reported that a southern California couple was fined $300.00 for holding regular bible studies that assembled 50 people in their home twice a week because it violated a city zoning code. In fact, city officials warned the couple that subsequent fines could increase if they continued to host the Bible studies without obtaining a special permit. Granted, city officials eventually claimed the violation was due to the amount of people they assembled in their home rather than the bible studies.
Regardless, the initial claim puts a spotlight on what was once a frequent occurrence in Rome in A.D., 62-64, as Peter describes in the book,1 Peter. This book was written just prior to some of the greatest persecution of the church ever. The Roman emperor basically said that if people claimed Christ, they would die. But, if they denounce Christ and follow Roman pagan gods, they would be allowed to live. Bottom line: following Christ meant that you would suffer—greatly!
But look how Peter responds to the seemingly crushed, overwhelmed, and devastated church of those days—he tells them they will be rewarded for suffering in 1 Peter 3:14. In fact, Peter says they should just expect ridicule, rejection, and suffering as a Christian.
The same message that was given by Peter (whose name means “Rock”) so long ago applies even today. We have to have courage under fire, and be a rock for Christ, just like the couple in California.
Last week, Steven Whitlow challenged us to go from the good life to the great life by taking additional steps. This week, Steve Hutmacher outlined what those steps may look like by asking us what level we are at in our Christianity—are we the self-centered, convenient or “all-in” Christian? This week’s LIO explores those levels of Christianity a bit further by asking some tough questions about how much persecution we are willing to withstand in the name of Christ. So, why not consider being courageous in your faith with your LifeGroup. If you hear a knock at the door and you’re issued a fine or citation to stop your bible study, you’ll know what to do!

Persecution makes us stronger
because it refines our faith
and gives us courage!
We can only withstand persecution
by relying on Christ!
How courageous are you?


MONDAY — The Ultimate Level: Sanctification!
Big Point: Living a sanctified life allows Christ to rule our thoughts and emotions which encourages us to believe that God truly is in control of ALL events. In return, we cannot be shaken by our enemies.

     As you drink your morning coffee or tea while reading this LIO before embarking upon your daily commute, take a moment to think about this: Today someone in the world may likely be executed purely for their Christian faith and beliefs. It’s true! That someone is Iranian pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani. He faces execution by hanging for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs. Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy (renunciation of a religion) in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial last month at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs. “He [Nadarkhani] has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim,” a CNN blog article explains. This story has received national attention and in fact, a Whitehouse spokesperson mentioned that Nadarkhani “has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for people.”
     While it seems that merely proclaiming your faith should naturally be a universal right, it doesn’t appear that is always the case, especially in this instance. Nadarkhani was given plenty of chances to renounce his faith but he chose not to. Do you think Nadarkhani wholeheartedly believes he will receive a reward for his suffering and that he’s not worried or afraid of their threats? It appears that way. It sounds like he’s holding true to the words written in 1 Peter 3:14. Nadarkhani must believe he is sanctified; that he is set apart for a special use and purpose to be used by God. That’s not braggadocios or boastful. Rather, that’s Nadarkhani’s way of trusting God as the Lord of all so that he is not shaken by his enemies. That’s what God expects us to do. That’s a pretty tough call that only Christ can help us answer.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Peter 3:14-17 (New Living Translation)
14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

THINK…Find the answers
On the surface, it seems there is much to lose when we suffer, but what does God say we will receive when we do suffer?

What does 1 Peter 3:15 say we are supposed to be prepared to do if someone asks us about our Christian faith? In return, if someone does talk about you, how will they likely feel and why?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Living a life with this type of bold faith may seem overwhelming but we serve a God of all possibilities. List three areas of your life that you are struggling in where you have a hard time believing that God can take control of:

What behaviors do you have that can act as an explanation to others of your bold courageous Christian faith?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you live with bold, courageous faith to believe that you are sanctified— set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ.

Courage is when you are afraid
But you keep on moving anyway
Courage is when you are in pain
But you keep on living anyway.

It’s not how many times you’ve
been knocked down, it’s how many
times you get back up. Courage is
when you’ve lost your way but you
find your strength anyway.

Courage is when you’re afraid
Courage is when it all seems grey
Courage is when you make a
change, and you
keep on living anyway!
“Courage” by Orianthi

29:1 God is renewing the covenant with Israel. He actually had multiple covenants with Israel and various leaders of the nation.
29:5 Clothes and sandals not worn out in 40 years. What a marvelous gift to the nation walking in a desert for that length of time.
29:11 Many non-Israelites had joined the nation during the desert travel.
29:19-28 Obedience matters. Israel was given a great deal of responsibility and with it, instruction. Fulfilling, or obedience to, the assignment results in great blessing. Failure, or disobedience, in the assignment results in great judgment. This principle carries through to the new testament (see 1 Peter 4:17; Acts 5:1-6) and likely to today.
29:29 God provides us with everything we need to know in order for us to live holy and joy-filled lives. Anytime we are tempted to say God does not provide enough information, keep verses 19-28 in mind.
30:1-3 God lays out the entire history of the nation Israel in these three verses.

30:9 Blessing or judgment is up to us. God rejoices when He can bless.
30:20a A good admonition for all of us.
31:9 Moses wrote most of the book of Deuteronomy down to complete the Pentateuch, also known as the 5 books of Moses or The Law in the New Testament.
31:10 The people gather every seven years to hear the law read to them. Not a bad idea. God and Moses predict Israel’s disobedience. As Moses put it: If you disobey when I’m here, how much more when I’m gone. Courage is when you are afraid But you keep on moving anyway Courage is when you are in pain But you keep on living anyway. It’s not how many times you’ve been knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up. Courage is when you’ve lost your way but you find your strength anyway. Courage is when you’re afraid Courage is when it all seems grey Courage is when you make a change, and you keep on living anyway! “Courage” by Orianthi

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.14.11

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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: From the Good Life to the Great Life

FRIDAY — Give me some more!
Big Point:
The attitude of our heart and mind should always be: “Give me more, God!”

On the front page of this week’s LIO you read about Michael Phelps’ training regimen and how his dedication enabled him to win eight medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was an amazing feat never accomplished before. But, that was then— and this is now…
The 2012 Olympic Games might not be until next summer, but Michael Phelps has been training since mid-August. The memory of winning the most Olympic medals ever is powerful, however, memories alone won’t put Phelps back on the podium in London next year. If he wants to be great again, he has to excel from where is he today.
At his peak fitness in 2007, Phelps was swimming 8,000 yards 10 times a week. He’s not there yet, but is committed to getting back to that monster goal – and the key to reaching that goal is to raise his game and never, ever get comfortable with where he’s at.
There are lots of good things that we do in our spiritual lives each week that we should applaud, such as coming to church, going to Life Group, giving and serving. But all week long, you’ve been challenged to think about the question: “In what areas of my life is God challenging me to move from ‘good’ to ‘great’”?
For each of us, the movement is different—but for all of us, the decision to actually move toward greatness has tremendous individual and corporate impact.


• What is the most important thing you learned in this week’s LIO?

• How will you apply what you’ve learned this week to your life?

• What are the steps you will need to take in order to apply what you’ve learned?

• What kind of impact do you think your decision to act will have on your life as well as the lives of those around you?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Moving from good to great is always God’s plan for your life. For many of us, applying what we’ve learned this week will require a great deal of faith and trust in a great God that will never let us down. Commit your desire to apply what you’ve learned this week to God.

Weekend Updates!
• Baptism Classes:
Are you interested in professing your faith publically and getting baptized? If so, we invite you to attend Baptism classes on Saturday, October 15th at 5:15pm at the Perrysburg campus and Sunday, October 16th at 9am at all campuses. Then join in on the New Community Service on Sunday October 23rd at 6pm to get baptized.
• Step-up Men’s Breakfast: Hey guys, do you ever feel overwhelmed with the responsibility that God has put on you to be a courageous man for Christ? If so, you are not alone. On Saturday, October 29th from 8-12:15pm you will have the opportunity to join other men who desire to live out their faith and make a huge impact for Christ at the Step Up Men’s Breakfast. You’ll receive a heartyman style breakfast, hear invaluable wisdom-filled insight, and learn tactics to develop, mend and repair relationships and create community and responsibility. You’ll also get a copy of the newly released book by Dennis Rainey entitled Stepping Up all for the low price of $10.00. Register at
• Invest in Others: Are you passionate about life issues such as marriage, parenting, addictions, resolving conflict or mental health? We are looking for individuals who are interested in developing Christ-Centered family resources specifically targeted to our CedarCreek families in these areas and more. Join us on Monday, October 24 from 6:30pm-8:00pm at the Perrysburg Campus.
• Life Groups—There are over 350 Life Groups at CedarCreek Church. You can search the open groups by going to the website under the “Get Connected” tab. Click on the “Find A Group” button and search for a life group that best matches you!

Living It Out: October 2011
…if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do it in a gentle and respectful way.

1 Peter 3:15b-16a (New Living Translation)

Living It Out
It is the dream of CedarCreek that everyone who calls this their church home will be reading and studying the same topics, both individually and in groups. Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.


Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses, are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the New Testament in a year

Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others

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Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Rick Kinney

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Barb Roose
Diana Patton
Emily Francis
JoAna Studer
Rebecka Blevins
Terri Seagert

26:1-15 As the stipulation section of Deuteronomy comes to an end, Moses commanded the people to keep two rituals when they conquered the land. These two rituals were the initial firstfruits offering and the first third-year special tithe. In both cases, there is an emphasis upon the prayer of confession.
26:5 “you shall declare before the Lord…” The offering of the firstfruits was to be accompanied by an elaborate confession of the Lord’s faithfulness. 26:12 “the tithe…” The tithe collected every third year of Israel’s existence in the land of Canaan. This tithe was distributed locally to the Levites, immigrants, widows, and orphans.
26:15 “look down from heaven…” This is the first reference in the Bible of God dwelling in heaven.
27:19 “withholds justice…” This refers to taking advantage of members of society who could be easily abused.
28:1 “fully obey the Lord your God…” This emphasized the need for complete obedience on the part of Israel. The people could not legally or personally merit God’s goodness or blessing, but their constant desire to obey, worship, and maintain a right relationship with Him was evidence of their true faith and love for Him.
28:20 “until you are destroyed…” Moses was aware that the Israelites were apt to be unfaithful to God, so he portrays, in extended warnings, the disastrous results if they disobeyed God. Destruction was the ultimate calamity for Israel’s sin.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.13.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 10.13.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: From the Good Life to the Great Life

THURSDAY — Remove Inactivity, Replace it with Action
Big Point: We should be aware of what can slowly strip away and dull our spiritual condition at all times so that we continue to grow spiritually and take action to move away from sin.

     In the Old Testament there was a man named Lot who lived in the city of Sodom. Lot had lived in the city for so long that he had allowed his environment to shape him instead of him shaping his environment. He had become apathetic and inactive and as a result, he became unaware of his spiritual condition and was not growing spiritually.
     God sent angels to the city of Sodom to destroy it because of the wickedness and sin of the people. When the angels arrived in Sodom they found Lot sitting at the entrance of the city which designated his high position and authority. Lot invited the angels to stay at his house and prepared a feast for them. As they were getting ready to eat, the men of Sodom surrounded the house and demanded that Lot bring the angels out so that they could have sex with them. Lot refused to send them out but attempted to compromise by offering his two daughters instead.
     Although it was a custom to protect guests at all costs, this terrible suggestion showed how deep sin had been absorbed into Lot’s life, and at that moment he wasn’t willing to take action to turn away from sin. He had become hardened to the evil acts of the people within the city. (adapted from Life Application Study Bible notes)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Ephesians 5:14-17 (New Living Translation)
14 …for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Ephesians 5:15. What should we avoid and how has God called us to live?

Read Ephesians 5:17. Far too often people say things like, “I don’t know how to grow spiritually” or “what’s God’s plan for my life.” How can believers know what God wants them to do?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Ephesians 5:16 tells us we are to make the most of every opportunity. What opportunities have you missed out on to grow spiritually that you wish you could go back and take advantage of?

What growth opportunities are in your life now that you can act upon?

It is important that as Christians we become aware of any dangerous situations or sinful behaviors that we may be slipping into. Like the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly boiling water, too often we become numb to the changing situations in our lives. What can you do to become more aware—or increase your spiritual sensitivity around you?

Think about the last few months of your life. What are some dangerous situations or sinful behaviors that you may be slipping into that you might have either ignored or brushed off? What should you do?

Lot made the mistake of conforming to his environment instead of speaking out against the sinful nature of the people of Sodom. As Christians we are to lovingly speak out for what is right and true. How are you avoiding conforming to worldly things? In what situations are you speaking out for what is right and true?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Pray and ask God to make you aware of any areas where you have compromised. Pray for Him to give you the courage to lovingly speak of the truth to others.

23:24,25 Farmers were to share their produce with the people in the land, but the people were not to profit from the farmer’s generosity.
24:1-4 This passage does not command, commend, condone, or even suggest divorce. Rather it recognizes that divorce occurs and permits it, but only on restricted grounds. God designed marriage for life, as Genesis  2:24 declares and God hates divorce as Malachi 2:16 states.
24:5 During the first year of marriage, a man was not held responsible for military service or any other duty. He was to devote that year of marriage to the enjoyment and establishment of his marriage.
24:10-13 “a pledge…” This would often be a cloak or garment, which was given in pledge to guarantee the repayment of a loan. God’s people were to act righteously in the lending of money. Lending to the poor was permitted, but without interest or coercion to repay.
24:14,15 Day laborers were to be paid on the day they labored because they lived day to day on such wages.
24:17,18 The administration of law should be carried out with equity for all members of society. This includes those with the most power and influence and those with the least.
25:1-3 Corporal punishments for crimes committed was to be equitably carried out in the presence of the judges.
25:13-16 The weights and measures of trade were to be kept equitable so people were not cheated.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.12.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 10.12.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: From the Good Life to the Great Life

WEDNESDAY—Remove Lies, Replace it with Truth
Big Point: Remove your mental barriers and replace them with strengthened faith.

     Do we actually believe lies? We certainly do! On an intellectual and emotional level, we all wrestle with lies; and our response to them typically determines our path in life. During Steven’s talk, he discussed how we let mental barriers block spiritual growth. A challenge we can all work on is getting past the lies, doubts and fears that plague our growth in faith.
     The story of the Centurion from Matthew 7 gives us an example of a man who exhibited faith, therefore enabling himself to be free from these mental blockades. As a Roman citizen, the Centurion had no solid reason to believe in Jesus, yet he sent Jewish elders to speak with Jesus about healing his servant. He said to Jesus, “Say the word, and my servant will be cured.” This faith amazed even Jesus.
     As we experience life, it becomes easy for us to pick up despair, disbelief and doubt that become mental blocks for this kind of faith. A next step for many of us is to seek to break these obstacles in order to come to a stronger faith.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 12:1-3 (New International Version)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

THINK…Find the answers
In Romans 12:3, what negative behaviors does Paul ask believers to replace with faith? Why must we do this first in order to serve God?

Reflect on Psalm 139:23-24. Why does the writer ask God to help him uncover the anxious thoughts that were plaguing his mind?

LIVE…What will you do now? Reflect on Romans 12:2 again. Every single day we are bombarded with messages that are laced with lies, everything from “Life should be fair”, to “My unhappiness is externally caused”. What does the “pattern of this world” look like now, in 2011?

Psalm 139:23-24
(New Living Translation)
23 Search me, O God, and know
my heart; test me and know my
anxious thoughts. 24 Point out
anything in me that offends
you, and lead me along the path
of everlasting life.

Believers are to avoid the pitfalls of this world, including mental pitfalls. What are some of the things you believe about yourself or God that hamper your faith?

How do some of these block you from a stronger faith? What spiritual disciplines do you need to replace these with? How are you allowing God to transform you into a new person? In what ways?

BONUS QUESTION: Sometimes we don’t live out our faith in a bigger way because we are hesitant or afraid – yet many of us desire to do great things for God. If you are serving, what mental barriers get in the way of you doing more? How could God be preparing you for the next level of your spiritual journey? What stretches do you need to make in order to come closer to God?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask the Lord to help you identify any barriers blocking your faith. He wants to lift you up to your next level of serving, giving, fellowship, and study. Pray that God reveals new paths for you to take with your faith.

20:1 “do not be afraid…” When Israelites went into battle, they were never to fear an enemy’s horses or chariots because the outcome of a battle would never be determined by mere military strength. The command not to be afraid was based on God’s power and faithfulness to deliver.
20:16 “do not leave alive anything…” The Canaanite cities were to be totally destroyed in order to destroy their influence toward idolatry.
21:11 “among the captives beautiful women…” Such a woman would be from a non-Canaanite city that Israel had captured since all the Canaanites were to be killed.
21:18 “a stubborn and rebellious son…” This is the long-term pattern of rebellion and sin of a child who was incorrigibly disobedient. No hope remained for such a person who flagrantly violated the fifth commandment.
21:19 “do not destroy its trees…” When besieging a city, armies in the ancient world would cut down the trees to build ramps and weapons. God did not want Israel to cut down the fruit trees in the siege of a city so they could later enjoy the fruit of the land God had given to them.
22:5 “woman not wear men’s clothing…” This statue prohibits anyone from wearing clothing of the opposite gender. This outlaws transvestism.
22:30 “a man is not to marry his father’s wife…” Incest was certainly forbidden but this also refers to a step-mother.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.11.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 10.11.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: From the Good Life to the Great Life

TUESDAY—Remove Sin, Replace it with Holiness
Big Point: When we confess and repent of our sin, it can no longer hold us back and we are free to grow in Christ and reach holiness.

      Peter wanted to make it clear in his letter that to move to the next step of faith, you need to get rid of the sin that is holding you captive in this life. The great part about this is that Jesus has already paid the price for our sin. Like it said in the G.O.S.P.E.L. video that was played during last weekend’s message —the check has cleared! Our part is to recognize the sin lingering in our lives, confess it to God and maybe to others, and repent. We turn away from our old lives and we turn to God.
     In the gospel of John, Jesus helps one Samaritan woman to confess and repent of her sin. The Samaritan woman found Jesus by the well when she went to draw water at noon. She was avoiding all the other women in the town by going in the heat of the day, instead of early in the morning or late at night. Jesus spoke to her, asking for a drink of water. For Jesus—a Jew—to speak to her—a Samaritan woman—was shocking. But Jesus understood the pain and shame she lived with every day, for she was rejected by others, having had many husbands, and now living with another man. Then Jesus did something even more shocking—he confronted her sinful lifestyle. She could have run off, offended and angry, but she answered him openly and honestly, and when she did, her spiritual eyes were open. She recognized the Messiah God had promised to His people and the chains of her sin came loose. She immediately told the people in the town about Jesus, and the Bible said that many Samaritans believed because of her testimony. God changed her from an outcast into one of the first evangelists to the Gentiles!

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Peter 2:1 (New Living Translation)
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

James 5:16 (New Living Translation)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

THINK…Find the answers
In 1 Peter 1, Peter reassured believers of their eternal salvation. He also writes to them to live now as “God’s obedient children,” not slipping back into their old ways of life. According to 1 Peter 2:1, what kinds of behaviors is Peter talking about?

According to James 5:16, how can we “get rid” of our old ways?

Are there any behaviors you have more of a tendency to slip back into?


The Bible tells us that we need to confess our sins to another person. Who is this person for you?


PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
God tells us to turn from our old ways and turn towards Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you whatever you need to confess to God today. Ask God to show you how to turn away from your sin and turn towards him and strive for holiness. Praise Jesus for paying the debt of your sin!

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have a person who you
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16:1 “the month of Abib…” occurred in the spring…probably March or April.
16:18 “appoint judges and officials…” Moses had appointed leaders at Sinai to help him in the administration of the people. Here, he specified that such important leadership should continue in each city.
16:19 “a bribe blinds the eyes…” Accepting a bribe was wrong since it perverted the ability of judges to act in fairness to the parties in litigation.
17:3-7 “served other gods…” The local judges were to see that false worshipers were executed, so that idolatry was dealt with severely.
17:6, 7 “two or three witnesses…” The execution of the idolater could not take place on the basis of hearsay. There had to be at least two valid witnesses against the accused person in order for a case to be established.
17:14 “a king…” The office of king was anticipated by Moses. He anticipated the time when the people would ask for a king and, here, gave explicit instructions about the qualifications of that future king.
17:18 “write…a copy of the law…” The idea set forth was that of the king who was obedient to the will of God, which he learned from reading the law.
18:1 “the whole tribe of Levi…” Unlike the other tribes, none of the tribe of Levi, including the priests, was given an allotment of land to settle and cultivate. The Levites lived in the cities that were assigned to them.
19:14 “your neighbor’s boundary…” Landmarks of stones bared inscriptions which identified the owner of the property. Moving a neighbor’s boundary stone was equivalent to stealing his property.
19:21 “eye for eye…” This principle of legal justice was given to encourage appropriate punishment of a criminal in cases where there might be a tendency to be either too lenient or too strict.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 10.10.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 10.10.11.

Series: Refining Faith
This Week: From the Good Life to the Great Life

“Intense and insane” – those were the words used in an ESPN article to describe eight Olympic gold medal winner swimmer Michael Phelps’ trainer and his overall regimen. “Michael isn’t just the greatest swimmer in the world, he’s the most versatile.” He’s the world-record holder in the two events that include all four strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. And he’s world class in three of the four strokes individually. So what made him so great?
You first have to point to Michael’s “master architect” his trainer, Bob Bowman. Twelve years before Michael won his gold medals, Bob saw how good Michael was and the courageous steps he took to earn the status of a very good swimmer. Bob knew that it would take something incredibly ambitious, something painstaking, something outlandishly intense and insane to get Michael to become the greatest swimmer that has ever lived. Seeing that Michael did not have a real father figure, Bob started out by becoming Michael’s surrogate father; creating an inseparable loving bond as father and son. As his coach, he devised crazy workouts, outrageous eating plans (a whopping 12,000 calories per day during competition), and intentional rest time.
Michael had to give up a lot. He had to remove any desire for other things that would even remotely take him away from his strict training program. Yet, Michael persisted and stayed focused. Someone his age would likely want to hang out with friends, eat lots of junk food and just “veg-out” most days. Instead, he replaced those desires with an infallible belief in Bob’s coaching tactics to make him great.
Let’s think about how Michael’s life applies to us in our desire to pursue greatness in Christ. First, in order for us to have a good life, we need to develop a deep, loving bond for our “master architect,” Christ. We must trust so deeply and so intensely that we surrender everything to him by accepting him as our personal savior. It seems that’s what Michael did with Bob. In fact, Michael mentions “I don’t think I would be where I am today with any other coach.” That’s some serious trust.
But our step toward Christ does not end there. In order to have a great life, we must take daily steps; drawing closer to Him (James 4:8). To take those steps, we need to do what we call the “remove and replace” maneuver. Steven mentioned this maneuver in his weekend message and this week’s Living It Out study is intended to delve into these necessary steps even further. We must—remove sin and replace it with holiness, remove lies and replace it with the truth, and remove inaction and replace it with action (See 1 Peter 2:1-5). It’s time to wake up and make the best of every opportunity. Are you ready to step into a daily regimen that gets you razor-sharp focused and stepping toward your great life? We can guarantee that as you step closer to Him, you’ll develop a spirit-filled craving that will cause you to break out into an all-out sprint toward Christ that’s just as insane and just as intense as Michael’s training. Are you game? Yes? Well then … game on!


Want a Good Life?
Take a step toward God.

Want a Great Life?
Take the next step!
So … are you willing to take the next step?

MONDAY — The Starting Line
Big Point:
In our desire to move from a “good” life to a “great” life, we must first take an honest look at where we are at.

    In November 2010, CedarCreek Church participated in the REVEAL Survey to gather data about the spiritual growth of those who attend our church. Many of you participated in that survey and the data we received a few months later provided much insight and information as to how we were doing as a church when it came to spiritual growth.
    Today, you have the opportunity to take some time to assess where you are at spiritually. When we think about the theme of this weekend’s message, “From the Good Life to the Great Life,” the goal is for us not to get settled into where we are at, but to always push toward the very best that God has waiting for us when we live in obedience.
    Here are nine questions for you to answer about where you think you are at spiritually. Yes, some of these questions are going to create tension—that’s okay. Pay attention to your answers and how content you are with them.

I attend church:
A. Seldom / B. Once a month / C. Two times monthly / D. Never miss!

I study my Bible in order to grow in my faith and obedience to God:
A. Never / B. Once a week / C. A few times weekly / D. Almost daily

I am living in obedience to how God has called me to live:
A. Not really / B. Kinda / C. Yes / D. Yes, except for: ___________

I listen and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit:
A. Rarely / B. Sometimes / C. Often / D. As much as possible

I spend time with other Christ-followers studying the Bible and building relationships with each other:
A. Not interested / B. Sporadically / C. Once or twice monthly / D. Every week

I serve others as Christ has commanded me to:
A. Not serving / B. Hit-n-miss / C. Often / D. Weekly / E. Totally using my gifts

I honor God with my money:
A. Seldom / B. I give something regularly / C. I tithe 10% / D. More than a tithe

I share my faith with others in order to help them to know Christ:
A. Never / B. Rarely / C. Once or twice a year / D. Regularly

BONUS QUESTION: I am leading others and helping them grow spiritually:
Not ready / Thinking about it / I should be, but I’m not / I am discipling others.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
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.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Reflect on your answers. Based on where you think you are spiritually (Exploring Christianity, Growing in your faith, Close-to-Christ or Christ-Centered), how content are you with your answers? Where are you “good” and where are you “great”?

Since we are God’s masterpiece, He desires for each of us to reach greatness! We know this because He cared enough to come and live within each of us who has placed our faith in Christ. So, what are the areas God has been impressing upon your heart that you need to move from “good” to “great?”

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Self-examination is always a good thing—for everyone. Talk to God today about what you’ve realized and let Him know if you are committed to becoming “great.”

13:2 “the sign or wonder takes place…” Miraculous signs alone were never meant to be a test of truth. A prophet’s or a dreamer’s prediction may come true, but if his message contradicted God’s commands, the people were to trust God and His Word rather than such an experience.
13:3 “the Lord your God is testing you…” God, in his sovereignty, allowed the false prophets to entice the people toward apostasy to test the true disposition of the Israelites’ hearts.
13:6 “your own brother or your own son…” The temptation to idolatry might also come from a member of the immediate family or from an intimate friend.
14:2 “you are a holy people to the Lord your God…” Again comes the important reminder of their relation to God. Over 250 times, Moses emphasized to Israel, “the Lord your God.”
15:1 “every seven years you must cancel debts…” The sabbatical year was established and described in Exodus 23 and Leviticus 25. However, while these texts stated that in the seventh year the land was to lie fallow without any crops being planted, only here did Moses prescribe a cancellation of debts.
15:4 “there should be no poor among you…” Idealistically, there was the possibility that poverty would be eradicated in the land “for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land.” Verses 4-6 were an encouragement to strive for a reduction of poverty.
15:8 “freely lend him what he needs…” The attitude of the Israelites toward the poor in their community was to be one of warmth and generosity.
15:21 “If an animal has a defect…” An imperfect firstborn animal was not acceptable as a sacrifice. It was to be treated like any other nonsacrificial animal