Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.19.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.19.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Home For Christmas

It’s the week before Christmas. Most of us are running around trying to make last minute preparations and purchases. We know some of you might be reading this Bible study while in long checkout lines—it’s okay—we think that’s pretty cool that you have created some space to focus on God.
In this past weekend’s message, Kyle talked about how we have to create a home in our hearts for Jesus. During this time of year, many of us are either traveling to a place we called “home” or we are waiting for loved ones to come “home.”
What’s so important about “home?” Well, “home” is supposed to be a warm shelter where you are safe. “Home” is supposed to be the place where those who know you best welcome you with open arms. Most importantly, “home” is supposed to be the place where you are loved unconditionally.
Spiritually speaking, our hearts are the center of our bodies. It’s where we store all that we hold most important in our lives—the good, bad, ugly and beautiful. This Christmas season is a reminder that God sent Christ away from his heavenly home into our world so that one day we could choose to ask Christ to come into our heart home.
As Christ-followers, the evidence of Christ living in our hearts should be seen in the world around us. One of the ways we’ve chosen to show Christ’s love to others is through a new initiative called “IMPACT419,” a Northwest Ohio food drive happening December 26—January 1. This is the largest food drive in Northwest Ohio to help our hungry at Cherry Street Mission, Vision Kitchen, Food for Thought and the Seagate Food Bank. IMPACT419 will collaborate with many corporate partners, such as The Andersons, Toledo Blade, Buckeye CableSystem, Cumulus Toledo, Promedica and CedarCreek Church. Together, we will feed our hungry!
When we ask Jesus to come and make a home inside of our hearts, his presence should make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we touch. When Jesus comes to live in our hearts, he is there to be more than just a friend staying for dinner—yet sometimes, that is how we treat him. Without question, one of the most remarkable blessings of our existence is that Jesus will actually enter into our hearts and be at home there and his presence will have an indelible effect on all that we think, say and do.
As this week unfolds into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we hope that you will carve out a little time each day for this Bible study as you finish shopping, wrapping, baking, rushing, reflecting, driving, and all of the other things on your todo list this week. Let’s all focus on truly giving Jesus a home in our hearts.

IMPACT 419
We can all make a difference!

1. Take a collection bag.
2. Shop for items on the list.
3. Drop off bag(s) into

IMPACT419 bins at any
CedarCreek.tv or The Andersons locations between
December 25—January 1

MONDAY —You Must Create a Home for Jesus
Big Point: You have to create a home in your heart for Jesus and allow him to live fully in every space.

        During the Christmas season, stories about coming home always warm our hearts. Who doesn’t shed a tear when watching the Folger’s Christmas commercial when the son returns from West Africa in time for Christmas? We feel sentimental when his sister puts a bow on him and says, “You’re my present this year.” What about when Rudolph decides to return home only to learn from Santa that his parents, along with Clarice, left to go looking for him. Rudolph courageously goes to search for his family, finds them and returns home again, now a hero.
        Families get excited when a loved one returns from being away from home— it may be a student returning home after their first semester at college or a soldier returning home from war in a foreign country. When loved ones arrive on our doorstep, we throw the door open wide and welcome them with open arms into our home. Chances are they will say these words: “It’s so good to be home.”
        God knew that we were spiritually homeless because sin separated us from God. Many of us know what it was like to wander around looking for God—and then the joy that we experienced when we found Him. The theme of this week’s message was that we need to create a home for Jesus in our hearts—not make him wait by the front door. Rather, we should enthusiastically welcome him into our hearts with open arms.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Revelation 3:20 (New Living Translation)
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

Mark 12:30 (New Living Translation)
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

About Mark 12:30...a reference back to Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. “Love the Lord your God…” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” are identified as both the first and second greatest commandments. The command to love God was constantly before the Jews as they recited the daily prayer known as the Shema. The reference to “love” in Mark 12:30 isn’t a reference to feelings, but rather to actions—living it out, as we’d like to say.

THINK…Find the answers
In Revelation 3:20, what are we to do when we hear Jesus’ voice and knock? What does Jesus promise to do? Underline the word “all” in Mark 12:30. How must we love the Lord? What does that really mean?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Every week, we know that there are a number of people who are still exploring what it means to have a relationship with Christ. We’re glad you picked up this Bible study, but we want to ask you this:

If you haven’t welcomed Jesus into your heart, what’s stopping you? (It’s okay to be honest, we can’t read your answers…) If you would like to talk about this with a CedarCreek staff member at your campus, we’d love to talk to you! Just go to the Welcome Center and get connected.

For those who are Christ-followers, you acknowledge that Jesus has a place in your heart, but the question remains as to how much of your heart you have given to him. What kind of “living conditions” does Jesus have in your heart right now?

Reflect on Mark 12:30 again. List the ways you can show Jesus that you love him with your whole heart this week.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. Give Him full access to your heart and enjoy the fellowship that you will have with Him.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Esther 1-5
Ch. 1: The kingdom of Ahasuerus extended from India to Ethiopia. King Ahasuerus and his queen, Vashti, gave a banquet. Ahasuerus ordered Vashti to display herself before his guests; she refused and was deposed, opening the door for a new queen.
Ch. 2: The king decides he wants another queen and so all the beautiful young women in all 127 provinces gather in Susa to compete. They spend one year in the palace undergoing beauty treatments, and then one night with the king. Esther, a young Jewess who has been orphaned and raised by her uncle Mordecai, is chosen to be the new queen. Mordecai instructs her not to reveal her nationality. Mordecai uncovers a plot to assassinate the king and the culprits are executed.
Ch. 3: Ahasuerus promotes Haman the Agagite to second in command…everyone must bow and Mordecai refuses. Haman learns that Mordecai is a Jew and determines to eliminate the entire race. The king approves and passes his signet ring on to Haman. Jews mourn.
Ch. 4: Esther does not know of the decree. Mordecai sends word to tell her and asks for help. Esther fears death but Mordecai says perhaps she has risen to this position for “such a time as this”. Esther asks all to fast for her to go to the king.
Ch. 5: Esther goes before the king, her life is spared, she invites the king and Haman to a banquet. Haman leaves, brags about eating with the king and queen and eventually builds gallows 75 feet high to hang Mordecai on the next day.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.16.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.16.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: So This Is Christmas

FRIDAY — Reflection
It’s just about a week away from Christmas and our hope is that this series has challenged and inspired you to grow closer to God during this holiday season. We hope that your gratitude to God for sending Christ into a broken and lost world has grown as you’ve listened to the weekend messages and studied this Living It Out Bible study on your own.

REFLECT…What have you learned this week?
• This week we studied several different names of Christ. Which name did you connect with the most? Why?

 

• Is there a particular name of Christ with which you are having some difficulty understanding how it relates to your life?

 

• Jesus’ names represent roles that he will play in our lives and how he will work in our lives as we go out into the world to impact others. Where is Jesus working most in your life right now? How are you responding to his leadings?

 

• In about a week we will celebrate the birth of Christ at CedarCreek. It’s a great time of the year to bring peace to those who do not know Christ. List the names of four people that you might be able to invite to one of our 45 Christmas Eve services. What kind of impact do you think Jesus could have on their lives? Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan Dec 16—Jonah 1-4

 

 

We challenge you to become a Missional Member at CedarCreek
We believe that God has called us as a church to reach out to spiritually restless and unchurched individuals to help them learn to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ. There are many of you who are living out our mission statement and our church is having an impact in our community and in our world. So, to you we have another challenge…Missional Membership.
Missional Membership is the highest level of commitment at CedarCreek Church. Missional Members commit themselves as well as the church to pursue utmost devotion to Christ, maximize their spiritual gifts and live in community, as well as prioritize the spread of the gospel message within and beyond the walls of CedarCreek.
You can complete the Missional Membership Bible study on your own by taking the online class or with your LifeGroup. Check out www.cedarcreek.tv for more information or stop by the Welcome Center at your campus for a study guide.

 

 Weekend Updates!
• Sanctus Real Concert: Purchase tickets for the New Years Eve Sanctus Real concert at the Welcome Center. The concert will be held at Perrysburg campus. (Tickets are $15)

• Life Support 13-week Winter Session has begun: Life Support is a Christ-centered support group program designed to assist individuals who struggle with a hurt, habit or hang-up. Life Support meets on Tuesday evenings at 7pm at Perrysburg, Whitehouse and West Toledo. No preregistration is required. Put Tuesday evenings in your calendar and get the support you need. If you have further questions, visit cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab or email lifesupport@cedarcreek.tv.

Need resources to help you and your home thrive? HomeMatters provides Christ-Centered resources that address a wide variety of topics to assist you in being able to deal with life’s difficulties, such as dealing with financial emergencies, helping friends in crisis, teaching your children about God and struggles with addiction. Check out the resources at our new HomeMatters wall.

• You likely know by now: Fabulous is Back! Guess what ladies, you can register now for Fabulous. Don’t miss out. Mark your calendar for May 17 and 18, 2012. This year’s theme is “Fabulous in Women’s Work.” For more information or to register, visit the cedarcreek.tv web page or inquire at any Welcome Center/Connecting point.

 

Living It Out: December 2011
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of  David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11 (New International Version)


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

Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe
to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

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.

 RESOURCES:
Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Rick Kinney

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Alyssa Baker
Barb Roose
Emily Francis
JoAnna Studer

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Jonah 1-4
The book of Jonah relates the account of Jonah’s call to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh and his refusal to go. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria and infamous for its cruelty, was a historical nemesis of Israel and Judah.
1:2 “Go to the great city…” While other prophets prophesied against Gentile nations, this is the only case of a prophet actually being sent to a foreign nation to deliver God’s message. Nineveh was great in both size and power. It was possibly the largest city at that time and yielded significant influence over the Middle East.
1:3 “But Jonah ran away…” This is the only recorded instance of a prophet refusing God’s commission.
1:4 “the Lord sent a great wind…” This is not an ordinary storm, but an extreme one sent from God. Sailors, accustomed to storms, were afraid of this one, a fear which served God’s purpose.
1:7 “cast lots…” The last resort is to ascertain whose guilt has caused such divine anger. God could reveal His will by controlling the lots, which He did.
1:8 “tell us…” What Jonah did not tell them was that he might have already known that Assyria would one day be victorious over Israel. Undoubtedly, Jonah’s natural pride clouded his prophet’s commitment to God’s divine appointment to evangelize Nineveh.
1:17 “a great fish…” The species of fish is uncertain. God sovereignly prepared a great fish to rescue Jonah.
2:10 “the Lord commanded the fish…” Just as God spoke the world into existence, and calls the stars by name, so He speaks to His creation in the animal world.
3:5 “the Ninevites believed God…” This wholesale repentance was a miraculous work of God.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.15.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.15.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: So This Is Christmas

THURSDAY—Prince of Peace
Big Point: Christ gives us peace of mind and he saves us (meaning he gives us peace with God).

        What does it mean, then, that Jesus Christ is the “Prince of Peace” biblically and for us today? To answer this question we shall first turn our attention to the meaning of peace in the biblical sense. The most common word in the Bible translated into “peace” is a Hebrew word “shalom”. The logical starting point of our study should be an examination of the word, “shalom.”
        First, the verbal form, “shalem,” means “to make whole” and derivatively “to bring to completion”, “to complete”, “to restore” and “to compensate”. Shalom is often used in reference to personal relationships, and it means “wholeness” of relationship – complete with goodwill and harmony.
        With the coming of Jesus Christ the way was opened for the restoration of the lost shalom to humankind. Jesus came to restore our relationship with God – to completely pay the debt of sin that we owed but could not pay. When we accept what Jesus has done on our behalf, we can rest assured in our salvation and have peace in knowing that our relationship with God is restored forever.
                                                         (from article “Jesus, The Prince of Peace”)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 5:1 (New Living Translation)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

John 14:27 (New Living Translation)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Romans 5:1. There is a cause-and-effect described in this verse. When we have faith in what Jesus Christ did for us, then what happens? Look at Romans 5:1 again and look back to today’s introductory paragraph. What does it mean for a Christ-follower to have peace with God?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever experienced the peace that Jesus talks about in John 14:27? How would you describe the difference between the peace that the world knows versus the peace that only Jesus can give us? Can you think of a time when things were going wrong, but you had great peace because you knew that your relationship with God was secure and that He was there for you?

During tough times, we remember that the peace Jesus provides comforts and reminds us that no matter what we face in life, our relationship with God is wholly complete. In what ways should the knowledge that we are in harmony with God give us hope and peace?

Peacemakers are not simply peaceable and peaceful persons;
they are those who actively and earnestly endeavor to “make” peace, shalom, here and now.

Since Jesus is our peace, he then calls us to be peacemakers in the world, bringing Jesus’ message of peace and salvation to others. Think of someone in your life with whom you can share the peace Jesus has brought to you. If you only had one minute, how would you share the peace that Jesus has brought into your life?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
There are a lot of people and things that promise to give us peace. In reality, there is only one peace that matters – peace with God. If you are a Christ-follower, yet you aren’t experiencing the peace that Jesus provides, take time today to reflect on what it really means to have peace in God. Then, pray today and ask God to help you truly grasp what it means to have Jesus as your Prince of Peace.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Nehemiah 10-13
10:30
“not give our daughters…nor take their daughters…” Parents controlled marriages, so this part of the covenant came from them. Again, it emphasized the serious sin of marrying a heathen from an idolatrous people.
11:1 – 13:31 Details of Nehemiah exercising his governorship are given in this section.
13:4-31 Nehemiah left Jerusalem and returned to Persia as he had promised. During his absence, the people returned to their former ways, led by the high priest Eliashib. Such a defection called for the needed reforms of verses 10-30. It was during Nehemiah’s absence that Malachi also wrote his prophetic book indicting both priests and people for their sinful defection.
13:4 “closely associated with Tobiah…” Eliashib had allied with Israel’s enemy for some personal gain and taken it to such an extreme as to desecrate the house of God.
13:7-9 Nehemiah’s response to the desecration of the temple was similar to Christ’s almost five centuries later.
13:9 “equipment of the house of God…” In order to accommodate Tobiah they had moved the articles of the house of God from their rightful place and put idols in the temple courts.
13:10 “back to their fields…” Because the people had quit tithing, the priests had to abandon their responsibilities in the house of God and perform field labor in order to survive.
13:15-17 They went against their previous covenant by violating the Sabbath.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.14.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.14.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: So This Is Christmas

WEDNESDAY— He is Our Everlasting Father
Big Point: Our Everlasting Father will never leave us, always forgive us and has an eternal place for us.

Jesus, the Everlasting Father, Gives us life, Provides for us, Cares about us, Forever.

        Nineteenth century minister Charles Spurgeon writes: “How complex is the person of our Lord Jesus Christ! Almost in the same breath the prophet calls him a “child,” a “counselor,” a “son,” and “the everlasting Father.” This is no contradiction, and to us scarcely a paradox, but it is a mighty marvel that he who was an infant should at the same time be infinite. He who was the Man of Sorrows should also be God over all, blessed forever; and that he who is in the Divine Trinity always called the Son, should nevertheless be correctly called “the everlasting Father.” (Metropolitan Pulpit Vol. 12 p. 838)
        Everlasting Father in Hebrew signifies just what it does in English: a father forever. Jesus is not just in the past tense. He is the everlasting Father. He will never abandon us and he loves us like only a Father can. Adapted from “Everlasting Father” by Bruce Goettsche.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Hebrews 13:5 (New Living Translation)
Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

John 14:1-3 (New Living Translation)
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Luke 15:20  (New Living Translation)
…And while he was still a long way off…filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

THINK…Find the answers
What promise does God give us in Hebrews 13:5? What does He say we are supposed to be satisfied with?

According John 14:1, how are we supposed to divert our hearts from being troubled?

What are we told in John 14:3 that Jesus will do when everything is ready?

No matter what we do, Luke 15:20 implies that Jesus will always approach in that way?

LIVE…What will you do now?
God said He will never abandon you. He shows us that He will always meet our needs as an everlasting Father. List the ways God has recently provided for you:

 

Some of us struggle with the term “father” in our personal lives because of the way our earthly father treated us. List the needs you wanted from your earthly father that you never received (know that these are the very needs our Heavenly father can fulfill…ask God for His help and fatherly love today):

 

During the Christmas season, it is easy to get caught up in the stories about Jesus in the past. But because of what happened in Bethlehem, on Calvary, and at the tomb, we now get to experience a relationship with God in the present. What’s stopping you from having a relationship with Him right now?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
It is important to remember that God is the Everlasting Father only to those who are part of His family in Christ. If you are one of His children, close your eyes and imagine Him wrapping His fatherly arms around you, and thank Jesus for being a father forever. If you are ready to become a part of that family today, pray and confess your sins to God and ask for His forgiveness.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Nehemiah 5-9
5:1-13
Enemy opposition and difficult times in general had precipitated economic conditions which had a devastating effect on Judah’s fragile life. The effect of this extortion on the morale of the returnees was worse than the enemy opposition.
5:14-16 Nehemiah was a politician without greed. Nehemiah faced a daunting task many leaders of developing countries face today. The land was devastated, with all wealth concentrated in the hands of a few powerful families. Jews were mortgaging their property and even selling their children into slavery in order to raise money to pay taxes. Nehemiah could have profited from his political position. Instead, he set a sterling example of generosity and self-sacrifice that made a profound impression on his oppressed countrymen.
6:5-9 After fending off ridicule and threats of violence from his enemies, Nehemiah suddenly faced a new scare tactic. Opponents were trying to intimidate Nehemiah by openly spreading rumors. Nehemiah was not intimidated.
8:10-12 “the joy of the Lord is your strength…” The event called for a holy day of worship to prepare them for the hard days ahead, so they were encouraged to rejoice. The words they had heard reminded them that God punishes sin, but also that God blesses obedience, which was reason to celebrate.
9:3 “they stood…read…confessed and worshiped…” The succession of events helped to reestablish the essential commitment of Israel to God and His law.
9:21 “they lacked nothing…” Even during a long season of chastisement, God miraculously cared for their every need.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.13.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.13.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: So This Is Christmas

TUESDAY — Mighty God, Empower Me!
Big Point: Our Mighty God empowers us to serve others and tell people about Him.

Evidence of the power of Jesus:
• His Miracles
• His Victory over
Temptation
• His Death
• His Resurrection

           Saying that Jesus is powerful or mighty loses some of its potency when we consider how often we use these words. Consider how often we call someone a powerful leader. We might say a nation has a mighty army or that an athlete is a power hitter or a power forward. We congratulate someone on a powerful speech and drive away in our vehicle with its powerful engine. But Jesus has the power over all creation. Jesus has the power over all angels and spiritual beings. Jesus has supreme authority. Jesus was clear about his identity—Jesus is God. We kneel before him along with all of heaven and earth.
        For us, this means two huge things: Jesus is who he says he is and he can do what he promised to do. Jesus promised to send his Spirit to be with us, to guide and to transform us. He promised to give us what we need and to prepare a place for us where he is. Jesus promised to always be with us. Jesus will also give us the strength and the power to tell the world about him. (See John 16:13, Matthew 6:33, John 14:3, Matthew 28:20 to read more about these promises.) Adapted from “Mighty God” by Bruce Goettsche.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Peter 4:10 (New Living Translation)
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

Acts 1:8 (New Living Translation)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

THINK…Find the answers
What does God give each of us according to 1 Peter 4:10? Why do you believe God gives these things to us?

In Acts 1:8, what are we told that we receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, and what should we do when we receive it? Where should we be His witnesses?

LIVE…What will you do now?
What spiritual gifts has God given you? Which spiritual gifts would you like to develop more?

Not sure what your spiritual gifts are?
Take an online Spiritual Gifts class. Go to cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected tab.”

CedarCreek’s mission statement relates to Acts 1:8 for a reason. How familiar are you with our mission statement? Take a moment to write it here (stuck? go to CedarCreek. tv homepage).

God gives us opportunities every day to serve others and to be His witnesses. Make a quick list of who you may possibly see today. What will you do and what opportunities will you have to be a witness? Review this list with God and ask for the Holy Spirit to give you the power to follow through and be a witness.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in sharing your faith? Are you having a hard time believing our Mighty God can empower you? If so, explain why?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to empower you to remain committed to serving others and telling the world about Him. Pray to let go of your own strength, to be transformed by God’s power, and to be used for God’s purpose.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Nehemiah 1-4
1:3 “the wall of Jerusalem is broken down…” The opposition had successfully thwarted the Jews’ attempts to reestablish Jerusalem as a distinctively Jewish city capable of withstanding its enemies’ assaults.
1:4 “sat down and wept…mourned for many days…” Although Nehemiah was neither a prophet nor a priest, he had a deep sense of Jerusalem’s significance to God and was greatly distressed that affairs there had not advanced the cause and glory of God.
1:5 “awesome God who keeps his covenant…” After seventy years of captivity in Babylon, God kept His promise to restore His people to the Promised Land.
1:8 “remember…” Not a reminder to God as if He had forgotten, but a plea to activate His Word.
2:2 “I was very much afraid…” Nehemiah feared that his countenance, his explanation, or his request would anger the king and lead to his death.
2:7 “may I have letters…” Official letters transferred a portion of the king’s authority to Nehemiah. In this context, he needed to pass through the lands of Judah’s enemies who could harm him or prevent him from rebuilding Jerusalem.
2:20 “the God of heaven…” Not only did Nehemiah have the king’s permission and was not rebelling, but he had God’s protection.
4:4, 5 Nehemiah’s dependence on his sovereign God is never more evident than in his prayer.
4:10 “so much rubble…” The prior destruction of the city left many ruins that had to be cleared away before any significant progress could be made on the rebuilding of the walls.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.12.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.12.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: So This Is Christmas

 

“So this is Christmas And what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun.

      Christmas is a season of great expectations, built on one of the greatest moments of anticipation in human experience—the birth of a child. During those moments, the hearts of parents and loved ones are filled with joy and hope looking at the fresh face of new life. What will this person be like? What will he accomplish in life? What will she love? What will her passion be?
Almost immediately, however, new parents are confronted with one of their most important and often agonizing tasks—what will the name be? After months of debate, there is probably a short list, whittled down from endless possibilities because of that one guy you knew with that name who was really weird or stereotypes that might be associated with it or the worst—the terrible rhyming nickname! Some names are immediately dismissed. They just don’t seem to fit. When the baby is born, many parents try on a few names and a moment comes when they just know this is the right one.
As much as we care about names, the people of the Bible cared even more. Names were most often picked because of the meaning of the name. We read in several places where people had their names changed as a result of their new relationship with God (Abram became Abraham; Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, and Saul became Paul). Other people were given names that were to represent various truths (consider the zany names of the children of Hosea, or the symbolic names of the children of Joseph). So when we read names in the Bible we can understand they have not been selected simply because they “sound cool.”
According to Naves Topical Bible, the Bible contains more than 250 names for Jesus. This week we will look more closely at four of these names so that we can know Jesus even better. These names describe who Jesus is, why he came to earth, and his relationship to us. Isaiah 9:6 reads, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The names of Jesus act like a “to do list” of sorts. They can help you understand the different aspects of work that God wants to do in your life. Jesus is Wonderful— you no longer have to look for cheap substitutes for life fulfillment. Jesus is Counselor—you no longer have to be baffled by the problems you face in this life. Jesus is Mighty God—you no longer have to battle the demands of life by your own strength. Jesus is Everlasting Father—you are no longer alone. Jesus is the Prince of Peace—you no longer are just a consequence of the things that have gone wrong in the world or in your life. This LIO study will break these names down even further. Take time to think about the baby that was born to us as the Savior of the world and the importance each name brings.
Adapted from “What’s in a Name?” by Greg Laurie

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL EXPLAIN HOW THE MANY NAMES OF JESUS CAN BRING A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO CHRISTMAS

MONDAY — Wonderful Counselor—Just What We Need
Big Point: Our Wonderful Counselor will listen to you and guide you.

        Have you ever been given unsolicited advice by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about? Perhaps it goes a little something like this: You’re single and all your married friends try to tell you how to meet people. You’re married and all your married friends tell you how to run your marriage. You’re struggling with depression and someone tells you to snap out of it. You’re trying to get past a loss and someone tells you to just move on.
       These bits of advice can be patronizing and infuriating at times. Many people believe they are being helpful but their words can be cutting, and sometimes push you away. Maybe these words were not coming from a wise counselor.
        In Hebrews 4, Jesus is referred to as one who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, who was tempted in every way just as we were but who was without sin. This is an essential part of the Christmas message. One purpose of Jesus’ being human on earth was to face what we face and experience humanness. Isaiah 9:6 identifies Jesus by the name, Wonderful Counselor and it is because of his willingness to become human he earned this great title.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Peter 5:6-7 (New International Version)
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Mark 9:7 (New Living Translation)
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”

THINK…Find the answers
According to 1 Peter 5:6 why should we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God? Verse 6 also says to humble yourself before casting your anxiety onto Jesus. How might humility and anxiety be related in this case? What does the voice from the cloud tell us to do in Mark 9:7?

LIVE…What will you do now?
How many times might you need to cast your anxieties onto Jesus? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? How often do you think Jesus would be willing to listen? Why is this essential to living life to fullest?

In Jesus, it is possible for:
a rebel to be brought to faith
a criminal to be turned in a new direction
an atheist to become a believer
a person who seems to have everything to see that they have nothing apart from Christ
a religious person to stop trusting in their own goodness and start trusting Jesus
   Bruce Goettsche

1 Peter 5:7 says that Jesus cares for you. In what other ways has Christ shown that he cares for you? Create a list of things.

It is important to have others in our lives who can give us wise counsel. List the people in your life from whom you receive wise counsel and why you deem them to be wise counselor.

If you don’t have any wise counsel in your life, write out the areas in which a wise counselor might be helpful.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Thank God for allowing you to cast your anxieties onto Him. Ask Him to reveal to you how He is caring for you. Thank Him for the birth of His son so that he might know what is to be fully human and become our Wonderful Counselor. Ask Him to bring people into your life who can give you wise counsel.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Obadiah 1
1“the vision of Obadiah…” Although the background of this prophet is obscure, the source of his message is not. The vision was supernaturally given by God without any other motives. “Edom…” the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother. This book is the first of only two (Jonah being the other) Minor Prophets who addressed their message to someone other than Israel or Judah.
2 “I will make you small…” God sovereignly rules over all nations.
3, 4 “the pride of your heart…” Edom’s pride was answered decisively by the Lord. The calamity against Edom, though brought by her enemies, was truly God’s judgment of her pride.
3 “live in the clefts of the rock…” Dwelling in difficult mountain terrain, Edom was virtually inaccessible, giving her a sense of security and self-sufficiency.
5, 6 “robbers in the night…” Because of the rugged terrain and very narrow access through the gorges, a predatory attack could only come at night. Edom’s attackers, by divine judgment, would not stop where normal thieves would, instead they left nothing. 7 Those conspiring against Edom were her allies, her neighbors, and even the outlying tribes who benefited from Edom’s prosperity.
15 “day of the Lord…” God’s near judgment of Edom in history was a preview of his far judgment on all nations who refuse to bow to His sovereignty.
21 “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s…” When the nations are judged in the final Day of the Lord, God will then set up His millennial kingdom, a theocracy in which God rules His people directly on earth.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.09.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.09.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas

FRIDAY — Do you know where your Christmas is?
Big Point: It’s possible to live out the Good News of Jesus Christ every day of the year!

Our hope is that after doing this week’s LIO study, you are no longer asking the question, “Where are you Christmas?” but instead, you’ve been encouraged to remember that God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself has personal application and meaning to your life.
How can it be possible for us to live out the Good News of Jesus Christ every day of the year? Is it even possible? It is! When you share your story of how God’s gift of salvation provided through Jesus Christ has changed your life, you are a part of God’s reconciling work in the world.
At CedarCreek we exist to help spiritually restless and unchurched people learn to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ. For those who are totally into our mission statement, we challenge them to become Missional Members of CedarCreek, which is the highest level of commitment at our church. Missional Members commit (promise) to live out our mission—meaning they are living out the Christmas message of God reconciling the world to Himself every single day!

REFLECT…What have you learned this week?
1. What are the two most important things you took away from this week’s study?

 

2. What verse has inspired or encouraged you most this week? Why?

 

 

3. As you reflect on God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself through the Good News of Jesus Christ, how are you a part of His plan?

 

4. At CedarCreek, we believe that God has called us to work together to share the Good News with all of the world. That’s why we ask you to invite others to church and we work hard to make sure our weekend services are an inviting place to share the gospel message with those who are lost and hurting. Who can you invite to church to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ?

 

For more information about Missional Membership, go to our CedarCreek.tv website under the “Get Connected” tab. Challenge yourself to living a life of loving Jesus, serving others and telling the world about Christ!

Weekend Updates!
Did you pray to accept Christ on Tuesday? Get a New Believer’s Bible: If you prayed the prayer on Tuesday and you are looking for a next step, go to the Welcome Center/Connecting Point and ask for a New Believer’s Bible. Check out www.cedarcreek.tv under the get connected tab to learn about getting connected to a LifeGroup.

South Toledo Opens December 10th and 11th: Let’s Celebrate! Congratulations to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly at the South Toledo campus. South Toledo will open just in time for the “big change;” which is one Saturday service at 6pm. Sunday services remain the same, 9am, 10:45am, and 12:30pm.

Do you enjoy inspiring people with your writing? If so, we’d love for you to share your gift of writing by joining the Living it Out team. Attend an informational meeting this Sunday, Dec 11 at 10:45am. If you are unable to attend the informational meeting, feel free to contact Diana at dianap@cedarcreek.tv or call 419.661.8661 for ways to get involved.

Who will you Invite? There are 45 Christmas services, December 22-24th. Who will you bring with you?

Fabulous is Back! Ladies, if you are still reminiscing about the last Fabulous conference, savor the memories but think ahead because Fabulous is back! Mark your calendar for May 17 and 18, 2012. This year’s theme is “Fabulous in Women’s Work.” For more information or to register, visit the cedarcreek.tv web page or inquire at any Welcome Center/Connecting point.

Living It Out: *NEW* December 2011
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of  David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11 (New International Version)


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

Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe
to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

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.

 RESOURCES:
Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Rick Kinney

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Barb Roose
Diana Patton
Rebecka Blevins

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ezra 6-10
6:22 “changed the heart of the king of Assyria…” By turning the heart of the king in their favor in allowing them to complete the rebuilding, God encouraged His people.
7:11 “copy of the letter…” The letter was addressed to Ezra because the decree recorded therein was the critical administrative document. Decrees were commonly embedded in letters. This allowed Ezra to read it to its intended audience.
9:15 “here we are before you…” All were reckoned guilty and had no right to stand in God’s presence, yet they came penitently seeking the grace of forgiveness.
10:1 “confessing, weeping, throwing himself down…” Ezra’s contrite spirit before the people was evident, and they joined him. These extreme expressions of contrition demonstrated the seriousness of their sin and the genuineness of their repentance.
10:7 “they issued a proclamation…” A proclamation was delivered orally by a herald. It often had the force of the law, as did this one. Not participating in the assembly meant not just losing your property but being ostracized from Israel.
10:12-14 “all…many people…” This demonstrates how widespread this sin was among the people.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 12.08.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.08.11.

Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas

THURSDAY — One Day All the Tears Will Go Away
Big Point: Christians have hope because our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for us.

        Here is a portion of an article titled, “Why Does God Allow Suffering” from former atheist, now well-known pastor and author, Lee Strobel: “Imagine that on the first day of the year, you had a horrible time — you had a horrendous toothache, your stock portfolio plummeted, you crashed your new car. But then each and every one of the remaining 364 days of 2001 was filled with incredible joy. Your stocks rebounded and you made twenty million dollars; you had an idyllic vacation in Tahiti; you got the dream job you’ve always wanted; your daughter gave birth to your first grandchild and named the child after you; you were selected the state’s Person of the Year. Each day is blissful and wonderful.
        Now, imagine that at the end of the year someone asks you, ‘How was 2001 for you?’ You’d undoubtedly reply, ‘It was terrific!’ The friend might ask, ‘But didn’t it start out bad?’ “You’d say, ‘Yes, you’re right. I can’t deny that. But when I look at the totality of the year, putting everything into context, it’s been great! The 364 wonderful days far outweighed the one bad day.’
        The same is true for heaven—even after a hard life, a life of struggles and difficulties, after the equivalent of 154,563,467 days of pure bliss in the presence of God Almighty in heaven — with infinite more days to come — if someone asked, ‘How has your existence been?’ you’d exclaim enthusiastically, ‘It has been absolutely wonderful!’ If the person inquired, ‘But didn’t you have a tough time before you got to heaven?’ you’d reply, ‘Well, yes, that’s true. I can’t deny that. But when I put everything into context, in light of all God’s outpouring of goodness to me, those momentary bad days aren’t even worth comparing with the eternity of blessings and joy that I’ve experienced!’

READ…What does the Bible say?
John 14:1-3 (New Living Translation)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read John 14:1-3 and the commentary about this passage of scripture. Jesus knew that we would be facing tremendous difficulties in this life. What comfort does Jesus offer believers in John 14:1-3?

What did you think about today’s introductory story? Revelation 21:4 contains a promise to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Once we leave this earth, why is it that all pain, death, and sadness flees forever?

Commentary on John 14:1-3:
This passage starts what is called Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns attention to his disciples and their needs. Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches them. He warns them not only of his impending death, but also of the trials they will face in building the Kingdom. He shows us that He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit – and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in him. (from intothyword. org)

LIVE…What will you do now?
Look at Revelation 21:4 again. What sadness, pain, or sorrow will you be glad to be rid of when you get to heaven one day?

How do you feel knowing that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, that there will come a time when you will no longer feel pain or sorrow about the things that happened in this life?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Jesus understands what you are going through today—but Jesus also knows what eternal joy and peace await those who live their life in faith to him. In your prayer time today, focus on Jesus’ promises to you for the future and thank him.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ezra 1-5
1:5 “whose hearts God had moved…” The primary underlying message of Ezra and Nehemiah is that the sovereign hand of God is at work in perfect keeping with His plan at His appointed time. God stirred up not only the spirit of Cyrus to make the decree, but His own people to go and build up Jerusalem and the temple.
3:3 “fear of the peoples around them…” The settlers who had come to occupy the land during the seventy years of Israel’s absence were deportees brought in from other countries by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. These inhabitants saw the Jews as a threat and quickly wanted to undermine their allegiance to God.
3:12 “who had seen the former temple…” The temple built by Solomon.
4:1 “the enemies of Judah…” These were Israel’s enemies in the region who resisted their reestablishment.
4:2 “have been sacrificing to him…” This claim was falsely made by the Samaritans who had developed a superstitious form of worshiping God.
4:5 “frustrate their plans…” This caused a sixteen year delay. As a result, the people took more interest in their personal affairs than spiritual matters.
4:21 “issue an order to stop…” This command was not a small order for one or two workers, but the efforts of 50,000 were called to a halt. This decree would not lose its authority until the king established a new decree.
5:5 “the eye of God was watching…” God’s hand of protection which led this endeavor allowed the work to continue while official communication was ongoing with the king.