Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.12.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.12.11.

Friday — Payday…What Does it Mean to You?
Big Point: Paying attention to your lifetime investments includes more than just reviewing your 401k statements. We’re commanded to love others, and we’re instructed to do this by investing our money, our gifts and our time into them.

Bob Buford’s Formula for Living A Life of Significance:
• Stop chasing the emptiness of worldly SUCCESS…
• SURRENDER yourself and all you have to God…
• Experience SIGNIFICANCE, by serving others with your gifts.

Making a difference in the world is where you actively decide to invest in something other than yourself. There are lots of ways to make an investment—such as time, skills (talents) and money. Each of those are precious commodities that can be leveraged in significant ways…if we are willing to make such an investment.

Last weekend you saw a video about Phil Brondes—a Christ-follower who, long ago, decided to invest in the kingdom of God. Phil is not a pastor (and he isn’t even a regular attendee at CedarCreek), but he does believe in investing in local churches, like ours, who are reaching people for Christ. “I’m in business so I have a method to give back…I can’t tell you how many people that I never thought would step foot into CedarCreek or anything other church—I think that what CedarCreek is doing is exciting.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 6:19-21 (New Living Translation)
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

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.

LIVE…What will you do now?
Friday is generally associated with payday. When we receive our wages for the work that we’ve done, we usually begin spending it on things important to us. The money that we spend reflects what we believe to be important. Take a look at your bank account. How do you feel about where you’ve spent your money over the past week?

An investment is “anything worth contributing to now, that might be profitable in the future.” What are you investing in these days?

How are you investing in making a difference for the kingdom of God? What is your motivation; AND, what do you hope happens as a result of your investment?

THE FINAL EXAM… Are you prepared?
At some point we will all “meet our Maker.” Bob Buford suggests that, in anticipation of that day, we all be prepared to answer the following 2 questions:
1. Most importantly, what did you do about Jesus—did you accept or reject him?

2. Then, what did you do with the time, treasure and talents you were given— that God prepared for you long ago (not Billy Graham or Mother Theresa—YOU!)?

Weekend Updates — Check out the ATC for more details!
• Financial Peace University Registration Open Now! Over one million people have taken FPU and learned how to pay off debt and save for the future. This 13- week seminar begins in September. Registration deadline is August 31st!
Are you single? Coming this September: A new, four–week seminar called “The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating” at all CedarCreek.tv campuses!

Get connected to these organizations! Make a Difference!
• Hannah’s Socks: www.hannahssocks.org or call 419.931.4757 to volunteer
• Vision Kitchen (serves meals in Toledo’s South End on Mon, Wed and Fri):
You can sign up to volunteer by going to www.mysignup.com and entering
“visionkitchen@cedarcreek.tv” in the “searching for sign-up” option. You can
sign up for the date, time slot and job assignment. Questions? Contact Steve at
419.494.6744.
• Dove Fund: Email: fgrimm@dovefund.org/ www.dovefund.org

Homepointe Family Activity
Big Point: God created you and has a plan for your life!
Read: Ephesians 2:10 and Jeremiah 29:11.
Activity: Share the following (You need a patchwork quilt and some fabric scraps):
I would like to show you this quilt. Isn’t it beautiful? Just look at all of the beautiful colors and interesting designs. It wasn’t always that way. At one time these were just a bunch of useless bits and pieces of material. Then someone, a master quilt maker, took those bits and pieces of material and put together this beautiful quilt. Now they are not only beautiful, but useful as well.
When I saw this beautiful quilt, I decided we should try to make a quilt like this one. I brought a lot of scraps of material. Now, I will need your help in making this quilt. I am going to count to three. As soon as I say, “Three,” I want all of you to yell, “Bang!” When you say, “Bang,” we will throw all of these scraps of material up in the air and when they come down, they will make a beautiful quilt.
Okay are you ready? “One, two, three!” (Throw all the pieces of fabric up into the air.) Hey, it didn’t work! How many of you thought it would work? How many of you thought that was one of the dumbest ideas you have ever heard? Well, I agree. It is foolish to think that I could throw these pieces of cloth up in the air and that they would fall down and make a quilt.
Lesson: I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe you and I are here by accident either. I believe this world and everything in it was created by God and that God had a plan and a purpose for everything. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11 , “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Bible also tells us in Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Just its maker had a plan when creating this quilt, God has a plan for your life. He is the Master Designer. All you have to do is just give your life to Him and He will take all the bits and piece of your life and make them into something beautiful and useful.
Pray: Thank God for creating you with a purpose, and ask Him to take the bits and pieces of your life and make them it into something beautiful. Then ask Him to help you discover and do the good works you were created for!

Living It Out: Scripture Memory August 2011
Ephesians 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things
we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
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.

Living It Out
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 barbr@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:
The Bible

Old Testament
Commentary compiled by: Rick Kinney

Homepointe Family Activity: Jamey Koralewski

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Doug Haynam
Jamey Koralewski
Barb Roose
Terri Seagert

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 25-27
25:1-55 Proper care for the Lord’s property is prescribed for the sabbatical year and the Jubilee year. This involves revitalization of the land. The seventh year of rest would invigorate and replenish the nutrients in the soil. Whatever grew naturally was free to all for the taking.
26:1-26 The covenant blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience are elaborated. A provision for repentance is also offered.
27:1-34 Standard legislation is given for persons, animals, houses and lands.
27:30-32 “tithe…” This general tithe was given to the Levites. This is the only mention of tithe or ten percent in Leviticus. However, along with this offering, there were two other Old Testament tithes which totaled about twenty-three percent annually. The other two tithes mentioned are in Deuteronomy 14:22, 28,-29.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.11.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.11.11.

Thursday— Make a difference: Tell others about Jesus!
Big Point: We’re called to invest our time, talents and treasure into telling others about Jesus. There are 6 billion people on earth and God wants us to tell each one!

In his interview with Lee, former broadcast network owner and Halftime author, Bob Buford, identified the difference between success and significance: “Success is using your gifts, skills and talents to achieve your own goals. Significance is using your God-given gifts, talents and skills to achieve God’s goals.”

One of God’s goals is sharing the gospel message all over the world. One thing people may not realize is that God has equipped each of us to share the gospel message in different ways. Some individuals, like Billy Graham or Rick Warren, have the opportunity to share the message with millions, while there are others who share the message of Christ over a cup of coffee, one person at a time.

We can never know the doors that God will open for us if we are willing to share His message of hope and salvation with others. Then again, does it matter where God asks us to share the gospel message? Too often we have our feet planted in where we want to do God’s work. The eternal destiny of someone in America is just as important as the eternal destiny of another in Somalia, Japan or Thailand. It’s not for us to decide where we will or will not go to share the gospel. God has already decided that for us—we are commanded to go everywhere!

“…to the ends of the earth” isn’t an either/or! As Christfollowers we’re called to go into the world. These days, we have access to people and places like we’ve never had before. Jesus tells us to go everywhere! No Excuses!

READ…What does the Bible say?
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.”

Romans 10:14-15 (New Living Translation)
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

THINK…Find the answers
Acts 1:8 and Romans 10:14-16 compliment each other. Read both verses and then write out a single sentence that summarizes the main point of both passages:

 

“What Romans 10:14-16 says to me is that people don’t get saved by some mystical meditation. People don’t get saved by contemplating eternity or space, or going within themselves, meditating or getting into a yoga position, or looking at the stars. People aren’t saved unless they call on the name of the Lord—all that He is. They can’t do that unless they believe… and they can’t believe unless they’ve heard… and they can’t hear unless somebody tells them… and nobody is going to tell them unless YOU GO! That’s the flow.” (adapted from John McArthur)

LIVE…What will you do now?
More than at any other time in history, we have the capacity to reach people with the gospel message like never before. List all of the areas/opportunities that youhave at your disposal to share the gospel message:

There are a lot of people who believe that we shouldn’t go out into the world to share the gospel message until we make sure that everyone close to us hears it first. What are their objections?

Why is this viewpoint flawed?

VIDEO RECAP:
Fred Grimm, a longtime ‘Creeker’ and Vietnam veteran, is a member of the D.O.V.E. Fund (Development of Vietnam Endeavors is comprised of Vietnam veterans, Rotarians and concerned citizens). Over the last 10 yrs, D.O.V.E. has built 43 schools, three medical clinics, and bestowed both high school and college scholarships. Fred has made over a dozen trips to Vietnam, often taking Vietnam veterans with him in order to show them how they can help to rebuild a country that was mired in so much conflict.

“It’s a tremendous feeling knowing that you were a part of their success…I feel closest to Jesus in Vietnam because I know I’m doing what he wants me to do. I try to live a Christlike life in the US; but in Vietnam, I’m doing something that I’d consider extra-ordinary: helping people who can’t help themselves.”

Fred Grimm, U.S. Army 1968-1970
(Wounded August 12,1969)
39th Combat Eng. Bn., Americal Div.
LZ Dottie – Quang Ngai Province
D.O.V.E. Fund member since 2000

Contact: fgrimm@dovefund.org
www.dovefund.org

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Are you ready to accept God’s leading to share the gospel message—even if it’s in a place far away from home? Today is a good time to talk with God about any fears or worries you might have about sharing your faith with others. Now is the time to ask God for greater opportunities to share your faith—in your own family and community, and around the world.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 22-24
22:1-33 Additional instructions on ceremonial cleanness for the priests, beginning with a death threat to those who might violate these rules.
22:17-30 Describes the unacceptable and acceptable sacrifices.
23:1-44 Points to days which are sacred to the Lord. After the Sabbath, the feasts are given in the order of the calendar.
23:5 The Passover festival celebrated God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
23:6-8 “Feast of Unleavened Bread…” Connected with the Passover, it commemorated Israel’s hurried departure from Egypt, and the associated hardships.
23:9-14 “the first fruits…” The beginning of the barley harvest (March/April), it was celebrated the day after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
23:15-22 “fifty days” The feast of weeks, May/June, dedicated the first fruits of the wheat harvest.
23:23-25 “Feast of the Trumpets…” Consecrated the seventh month, September, as a sabbatical month.
23:26-32 “Day of Atonement…” Pointed to the forgiveness and cleansing of sin for the priests, the nation, and the tabernacle.
23:33-43 “Feast of Tabernacles…” Commemorated God’s deliverance, protection, and provision during the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.10.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.10.11.

Wednesday—Make the World a Better Place: Love Others
Big Point: Answering the higher calling to make the world a better place requires us to love our neighbors as ourselves—including the least in society.

In the time of Jesus, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was notorious for danger and difficulty, and was known as the “Way of Blood” because “of the blood which is often shed there by robbers.” Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, on the day before his death, described the road as follows: “I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1,200ft above sea level [actually about 2,100ft]. And by the time you get down to Jericho 15-20 minutes later, you’re about 22ft below sea level [really 846ft]. That’s a dangerous road.

In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.” And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest and the Levite probably asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” However, King continues: But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Defining “Neighbor” …“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” …But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37, ESV)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 25:40 (New Living Translation)
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

THINK…Find the answers
The Good Samaritan extended humble compassion and generosity; while the “religious” folk were self-serving. How do you suppose the passers-by justified their behavior to themselves?

After reading Matthew 25:40, why do you think it’s the same as helping the King, when we help each other?

Looking back at your last answer, if you really believe that to be true, how is that “truth” evidenced in your own life? (Remember, we DO that which we truly believe, and the rest is just rhetoric.)

Jesus said, “…go and do the same.” What was he referring to, and what should that look like in our real, everyday, “not-quitting-my-full-time-job”, world?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Jesus made the point in his parable that the three men had come into contact with the victim while they were on their way to go do something else. None of them were traveling with the purpose of finding someone in need. Notice also that Jesus didn’t condemn the Good Samaritan for enlisting help when he needed it. Have you ever not reached out to someone in need because you were discouraged by either your ‘schedule’ or your ‘limited resources’ (personal and/or financial)?

How can, and should, faith and obedience play a role in our loving our neighbors and the least of these?

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do?
Like King David, ask God “to create in you a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within you.” As you notice the pain and suffering of others, ask Him to fill you too with humble compassion and generosity in order to serve those He has put in your path. Pray that faith will overcome any fears or doubts trying to stop you from “doing the good works prepared for you long ago.”

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 19-21
19:1-37 Practical applications of holy conduct in society.
19:1 This basic statement, which gives the reason for holy living among God’s people, is the central theme in Leviticus. Israel had been called to be a holy nation, and God’s perfect, holy character was to be the model for the Israelites to live by.
19:3 This amplifies the fifth commandment to honor one’s father and mother.
19:3,4 In addition to the fifth commandment, the fourth, the first and the second were commanded as holy behavior also.
19:18 FORGET ABOUT THE WRONG THINGS PEOPLE DO TO YOU, AND DO NOT TRY TO GET EVEN. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF. I AM THE LORD. (CEV) *How fitting for today’s study!
19:32 Showing respect for the older man acknowledged God’s blessing of long life and the wisdom that comes with it.
20:1-7 Discusses capital and other grave crimes. Many of the same issues from ch. 18 & 19 are elaborated, with emphasis on the penalty paid for the violation.
20:5,6  “Cut off…” This means to kill, or put to death.
20:10-21 Punishments for violating the prohibitions of sexual sins from ch. 18.
20:22 God repeatedly told Israel that remaining in the land required obedience to the Mosaic covenant. Failure to do so would mean their removal from the land.
21:1-24 Priests were called to a higher standard of holiness than everyone else.
21:7,8 The priest was allowed to marry, but only in the purest of circumstances. A holy marriage union pictured the holy union between God and His people.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.9.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.9.11.

TUESDAY — Make the World a Better Place: Obedience
Big Point: What Jesus says is to teach them to “obey”—not learn, memorize, or read—but to obey. Obedience is the name of the game.

Jesus insists that we must put his words into practice. If we call him “Lord,” we ought to obey him, because a “Lord” is not only a protector, but someone who has the authority to tell us what to do. Those who believe that Jesus is Lord will also want to obey him. If we love him, we will do what he tells us. A faith that doesn’t come with obedience is not a real faith. Faith and actions work together, reinforcing each other — faith leads to obedience, and the resulting actions give visible evidence that the faith is real. Faith and obedience are symbiotic (a relationship of mutual benefit or dependence). Even our love for God is expressed largely by the way we obey His commands. Because we love Him, we obey Him. We show our love of God by eagerly striving to know Him and obey His commands.

“The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.” (Oswald Chambers)

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 28:18-20 (New Living Translation)
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

1 John 5:2-5 (New Living Translation)
We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey His commandments. 3Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. 4For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

John 15:16-17 (NLT)
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

2 John 1:6 (NIV)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.

BONUS READING
2 Timothy 2:1-26
• A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
• An Approved Worker

THINK…Find the answers
What single thing did Jesus command his disciples to teach new believers?

Of the commands Jesus gave the disciples, which ones did he single out for new believers to obey?

What does John say that we walk in, when we walk in obedience to God’s commands?

LIVE…What will you do now?
We’re called to be an example of obedience to those of whom we’re commanded to make disciples. Since our level of obedience is reflected in our lives, what needs to change in your life to better obey Christ’s commands?

Sometimes we know that obedience to Christ’s commands dictate we turn away from our current and comfortable way of living. What part of obeying Christ’s commands do you struggle with?

Jesus gave us our marching orders in Matt. 28:20: to make disciples. That’s the core; everything else he says in those three verses explains what making disciples entails. thejesusvirus.org is a blog for missional practitioners of ‘organic, simple, viral Christianity’. It’s dedicated to a simple, ‘living’ Christianity that spreads easily from person to person. In other words, the site suggests that making disciples consists of merely teaching them a few simple, reproducible skills (Mt. 28:20), and then offering them opportunities to use them. “Let them learn by connecting with Jesus and obeying.” The site identifies this basic skill set for new disciples, all of which are premised on obeying what Christ calls us to do:
• Read the Bible as a personal conversation with Jesus. Obey what it says.
• Pray as a personal conversation with Jesus. Obey what he tells you to do.
• As a group: pray, invite Jesus in, listen, and obey.
• Pray for those who need Jesus. If Jesus tells you to talk with someone, obey.

PRAY…God, what do You want me to know & do?
Ask God to empower you to obey Him and all His commands. Acknowledge that you need His help. Ask for His forgiveness when you fail, but remain confident in His grace. Ask God to help you be a living example of Christ’s love by obeying His commandment to love.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 16-18
16:1-34 This section covers the Day of Atonement which was commanded to be observed annually to cover the sins of the nation, both corporately and individually. The atonement was provided, but only those who were genuine in faith and repentance received its benefit, the forgiveness of God.
16:2 Common priests went every day to burn incense on the golden altar in the part of the tabernacle sanctuary, outside the veil. None, except the high priest, was allowed to enter inside the veil, into the Holy Place, actually called the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant rested.
17:12 Since it contains life, blood is sacred to God. Shed blood—death—from a substitute, atones for or covers the sinner, who is then allowed to live.
18:1-30 Laws given, relating to sexual practices, that eliminated the abominations being practiced by the heathen in the land. These laws assume the general prohibition of adultery and of a father incestuously engaging his daughter.
18:3 Repeating sexual practices of the Egyptians or Canaanites was forbidden.
18:4 “I am the Lord your God…” This phrase, used over 50 times, asserts the uniqueness of the one true and living God, who calls His people to holiness as He is holy, and calls them to reject all other gods.
18:29 “cut off from their people…” All of the sexual perversions mentioned in this chapter were worthy of death, indicating their loathsomeness before God.
18:30 “customs that were practiced before you…” Not in their presence, but by the people who inhabited the land before them, were such sins committed.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.8.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.8.11.

Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Make the World a Better Place

Psalm 139:14 says that God’s works are wonderful, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Certainly, we are His workmanship—God made us. He formed us in the womb and causes us to grow, both physically and spiritually. We’re products of God’s personal attention and handiwork. Why has He made us so carefully and wonderfully, why were you made, and what is the meaning of your life? You were created in Christ for good works—it’s your purpose and why He made you!

Some argue that our purpose is to witness; but, in fact, your good works are what open up the opportunity to witness. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Others say the purpose of our lives is to worship God; but again, good works are key to this as well. Worship is much more than singing—it’s the good things that we do, and the sin that we avoid by doing them, that is our spiritual service of worship. And some might argue that our purpose in this life is to learn of God — to know Him and to learn His Word; but, once again, the Bible says these things are inseparable from doing good works—if we aren’t bearing fruit in good works, our knowledge means nothing (Colossians 1:10).

Some people get hung up on the religiousness of doing good works. They argue that talking about the necessity of good works is preaching a righteousness that comes from doing good. Romans 11:6, “And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved,” 2 Timothy 1:9, and plenty of others all clearly explain that our works do not save. Instead, our works are to be the evidence that we are saved! In fact, it’s important to continually remind ourselves that our good works don’t save us or make us righteous. The simple fact is that when we do them, we are reflecting the good work that Christ accomplished for us and in us!

As we go through our daily lives, God puts opportunities before us to do good. God makes sure that we see someone who is in trouble, and He expects us to rescue them. God makes sure that the basket is passed in front of us, and He expects us to give a financial sacrifice. God makes sure that we see someone in need, and He expects us to help them. Think of these good works that God prepares for us as doors. They are doors placed in front of us that we choose to walk through. His job is to put the door in front of us, our job is to walk through it.

How many times a day do we see a door and keep going? We turn our heads and keep walking because, “We don’t have the time or the money, don’t want to get involved, or want to mind our own business.” Christians, good works are our business, and why we’ve been created in Christ Jesus! When God prepares a good work for you to do, walk in it. It will open up opportunities to witness, be an act of worship, will help you to increase in your knowledge and understanding of God, and it will leave the world a better place!

Monday —Make the World a Better Place: A Higher Calling
Big Point: Christians have a higher calling—to better the world by “doing the good things God planned for us long ago.”

Although we’re all differently gifted and appointed, we are ALL FULLY CALLED! Jesus rescued us, and the Holy Spirit is re-creating us daily into the image in which we were created—the imago dei. We are truly free—free to co-create with God, to help Him cultivate the community and culture which He called us to at the beginning of time. So instead of asking yourself, “What do I want from others?” ask, “What do I want for them?” When we see a need and answer this vital question then we step out in faith and use our time, talents and treasure to honor God by serving others. Do you remember these inspiring stories from this weekend’s service:

Hannah’s Socks…Hannah Turner was only three years old when she gave away her pink socks to a homeless man because he had holes in his shoes. The next day, Hannah and her mother brought 100 pairs of socks to give away and “Hannah’s Socks” was born. For the past eight years, individuals and organizations have donated socks to help Hannah achieve her goal: “warm feet, warm hearts.” Her father, Victor Turner says this: “It only happens because we have a lot of people with warm hearts who have been touched by what Hannah has done. We know we are doing something to help people in need and to live out this part of our faith.”

Steve Whitlow, Vision Kitchen…In 2009, Steve was at the low point in his life. His son suggested that he volunteer at Vision Kitchen. Not only did Steve develop wonderful new relationships, but within a few months Steve began serving as volunteer coordinator. “Now I get the great privilege of serving over 14,000 meals this year. Serving for me has allowed me to focus on others instead of my own problems. I’ve been able to develop deep and lasting relationships.”

Both Hannah and Steve have made a tremendous difference in the world—not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is a way for them to live out their faith. (Check out the back page for how to contact these organizations.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Ephesians 2:8-10 (New Living Translation)
God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10For 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.

Ephesians 4:2-3 (New Living Translation)
2Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Titus 2:12,14 (NLT)
And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God…14He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

THINK…Find the answers.
How are we, as Christians, described in Ephesians 2:10 and Titus 2:12,14?

Why did God redeem us, and why must we first receive God’s work for us and in us before He can do His work through us?

What are the attributes, as listed in Ephesians 4:2- 3, of a life being lived ‘worthy of its calling’?

LIVE…What will you do now?
How does realizing you were created in God’s image affect how you make decisions, and how you see others?

Ephesians 2:10 says we’re God’s workmanship/masterpiece/work of art. In what ways do you find it hard to apply these words to yourself? And, on the reverse of that, how does knowing that God made you special (He has particular good works planned for you that only you can do) make you feel?

How does knowing that God prepared good works for you to do in advance affect your view towards your particular ministry/high calling; and how might you discover what these good works are? If you are living out how God has gifted you to serve others, what have you seen God do through your life? How does it make you feel?

How can an understanding that you were shaped to serve God, and not to serve yourself or your passions, change the way you live?

PRAY…God, What do You want me to know & do?
What’s your ‘calling’ (the work which God has given you to do)? Ask Him to reveal your gifts and give you opportunities to use them, then let the Holy Spirit lead you.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Leviticus 13-15
13:2 “leprous” A term referring to various ancient skin disorders—sometimes superficial, sometimes serious. For the protection of the people, observation and isolation were demanded for all suspected cases of what could be a contagious disease. This biblical leprosy disfigured its victim, but did not disable him.
13:45 “Unclean! Unclean!…” This cry is a symbol of their grief and isolation.
13:59 “for pronouncing them clean or unclean…” The language of the passage indicates disease that affects the clothes as it did the person. This provided more illustrations of the devastating infection of sin and how essential cleansing was spiritually.
14:2 The sense of this law is a prescription, not for healing from leprosy and other such diseases, but rather for the ceremonial cleansing, which needed to be performed after the person was declared clean.
14:3 The leper was not allowed to return to society until a priest, skilled in the diagnosis of disease, examined him and assisted with the ritual cleansing.
15:31-33 God was showing the Israelites that they must have a profound reverence for holy things. In order to mark out His people as dwelling before Him in holiness, God required of them complete purity and didn’t allow them to come before Him when defiled, even by involuntary or secret impurities.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.5.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.5.11.

FRIDAY — NEW SERIES! BeforeiDIE.tv, I want to…

Tomorrow starts the BIG PUSH. By now, you’ve may have seen the series billboards around town and you may have seen the BeforeiDIE truck. Have you actually thought about this question? Many have responded with their thoughts and dreams at the beforeidie.tv website. Here is a sampling of some of the responses:

• Meet Lady Gaga
• See my kids grow up to serve Christ
• Make a difference in someone else’s life
• Live somewhere that has warm winters
• Pay off my debts
• Adopt a child
• Visit every National Park
• Be financially stable

The question has a wide variety of responses. For many, the answer is simply removing the hardships of their present life. For others, the answer is realizing a dream. And then there are some who aspire to leading a life of greater significance. Next week Lee will kick off the BIG PUSH talking about, “Before I die, I will make the world a better place.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Philippians 1:20-22 (New Living Translation)
20For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.

CHALLENGE…You’re up for it, right?
We only have a certain amount of time on this earth—and we don’t know when our lives will end. Are you spending your precious time on what matters? Ask yourself the following questions:

In any given week, what percentage of your time and energy is devoted to
Your work? ______ %
Your family? ______ %
Your church? ______ %
Serving your community?______ %
Pursuing hobbies? _____%
Just wasting time? ______%

If you could change any of those percentages, how would they change and why?

HERE’S THE BIG QUESTION: Now, list three to five things you most want to accomplish in life before you die:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
God, as people around the community talk about what they want to do before they die, help me to have the courage to invite them to church.

HOMEPOINTE FAMILY ACTIVITY
Big Point: Everyone needs Jesus! One of the most important things we can do is encourage each other to look for opportunities to invite our friends and family to church. Each one of us can make a substantial impact on someone’s life with just one question: “Would you like to come to church with me this week?”

Lesson: Read Matthew 9:35-38.

Matthew 9:35-38 (New Living Translation)
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

In this passage of scripture, Jesus observes the inner-hearts of those who are lost, hopeless and looking for help. There are billions of people in our world today who need to hear about the hope that Jesus offers, yet far too many Christians opt out of their responsibility to share the gospel message.

Activity: Each family should meet together as a group and choose another family to invite to church next week as well as an invitation for lunch or dinner after church. The meal can be a picnic at a park or cookout in your backyard. Keep the meal stress-free by grilling hotdogs or hamburgers and serving with chips and fresh fruit.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Give us an opportunity and the courage to invite _______________to church so that they can hear the gospel message and hopefully, choose to place their trust in You. Amen.

Living It Out: *NEW* August 2011
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.

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 barbr@cedarcreek.tv.

RESOURCES:
Daily Bible Commentary compiled by Barb Roose

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Kaye Althaus
Tammy Kaiser
Rick Kinney
Emily Lee

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY—Leviticus 10-12
Leviticus 10: “wrong kind of fire” Nadab and Abihu were consumed by the fire because they did not follow God’s precise instructions for giving sacrifices. As leaders, they had a special responsibility to obey God because in their position they could easily lead people astray.
Leviticus 11: This chapter outlines the types of animals that the Israelites could and could not eat. Again, since we are not subject to Levitical laws, we do not live under these constraints. However, the lesson we can take away from this is that when God explicitly calls us to avoid certain types of behaviors, then we are to separate ourselves completely from that sin and not try to create gray areas to operate within. There were certain circumstances that would make individuals ceremonially unclean during that time—whether through sin, childbirth or by accident. These people were not rejected by God during this time, it just means they needed to be “cleansed” for worship.
Leviticus 12: After childbirth, a woman’s body was in a great stage of transition and therefore, it would be inadvisable to ask a new mother to go into the temple. Rather, it was more important for her to be secluded with her new child until such a time when she was physically healed enough to rejoin the worship community.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.4.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.4.11.

THURSDAY— Who needs Jesus?
Big Point: No matter how good or bad our actions, we ALL need Jesus—including our unchurched friends and family…and even the annoying guy in the cubicle next to you.

There are so many of us who come to CedarCreek, find Jesus, and get connected. It’s easy for us to get comfortable and happy with our faith and forget that there are so many people who are still where we once were—hopeless, purposeless or spiritually restless. Here’s a story from a Creeker that was once lost:

“There were a lot of problems going on in my family and I was in a downward spiral. I was angry all the time and I felt like I had no where to turn. I wanted all the pain and hurt to end. Then a friend of mine urged me to check out CedarCreek and Life Support. It was the best thing I have ever done. That was four years ago and I still call CedarCreek my home.” —Kristy Adkins

READ…What does the Bible say?
I John 1:8-9 (New International Version)
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 53:6 (New International Version)
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him (Jesus) the iniquity (sin) of us all.

THINK…Find the answers
In Isaiah 53:6, who has gone astray or off course? Are there any exceptions?

According to 1 John, if we claim to be without sin, what are we doing to ourselves? If we confess our sins, what is the result?

In 1 John 1:9 it tell us to confess our sins. To whom are we called to confess our sins and what are we confessing?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever felt unworthy of Jesus’ love and sacrifice? If so, what made/makes you feel that way? What did you learn to help you overcome those feelings?

Can we have your seat? The 10:45am service is our most popular service for new visitors. If you’ve been attending CedarCreek’s 10:45am service for longer than three months, we are asking for you to consider attending a different service. We’d hate for new people to have to struggle to find a seat. Can you say “awkward?”

Imagine you are sitting with one of the people that you want to invite to church this weekend, how would you explain the fact that every single person needs Jesus, whether he or she realizes it or not?

Often times people refuse an invitation to church because they feel unworthy of Jesus and the forgiveness he offers. How would you respond to someone with those doubts?

What are some of the other objections people have to coming to church? How can you respond to those objections in a loving, non-defensive, non-pressurized way?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Pray for the people you’re inviting to church. Thank God that he forgives us no matter the circumstances, and ask him to help you show his forgiveness to the people on your list.

 

Have you prayed today for the people you want to invite? Y N
Have you invited them? Y N

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Leviticus 7-9
Leviticus 7: Why weren’t the Israelites allowed to eat the fat or blood from sacrificed animals? Eating the fat wasn’t permitted because the fat was the best portion of the animal and therefore, it was to be dedicated only to God. Blood was God’s gift of life to all living things and therefore blood was to be returned to God and never to be used by people. As an aside, part of the offerings were set aside to provide food for the temple priests. The priests were not employed outside of the temple so the people’s sacrifices also provided sustenance for the priests who maintained the temple.
Leviticus 8: Priests were established as a concession to deal with the Israelites’ inability to relate to God because of sin. However, Christ came and eliminated this imperfect system. We no longer need a human intermediary. “Urim” and “Thummim” – there isn’t a lot known about these, but the thought is that they were two objects that God used to give guidance to His people—think of them as an ancient version of the Magic 8 ball. Some scholars think that “Urim” was ‘yes’ and “Thummim” was ‘no.’ After a time of prayer for guidance, priests would shake the stones and God would cause the correct one to fall out. Clearly, God has a different way of leading and guiding us these days so this method is not necessary or advisable.
Leviticus 9: In verse 23, God’s glory appears to the entire community and fire came forth and consumed the entire sacrifice on the altar. Christians often say that if God showed that kind of presence today that the world would be different. However, God does work just as supernaturally today—He just does it by changing and transforming our lives and then we are sent to impact others.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.3.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.3.11.

WEDNESDAY— Have compassion…
Big Point: We can never be too busy to have compassion on others.

Here is another story from our Facebook site:
“My husband, our four-year old daughter, five-month old son and myself were in a terrible automobile accident a couple of months ago. We had to move to this area because the car was totaled and therefore my husband lost his job and we lost our apartment. Realizing how blessed we ALL were to be alive, we knew we wanted to get close to God.

When we moved here my husband went to Trainco to inquire about trucking classes and came home with a CedarCreek invite card. The following Sunday we came to check it out. By far the BEST choice we’ve made!” —paraphrased from Beth Vargas’ post on Facebook

READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 9:35-38 (New Living Translation)
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Until you see, you will not feel.
Until you feel, you will not know.
Until you know, you will not care.
Until you care, you will not pray.
Until you pray, you will not go.

THINK…Find the answers
While Jesus was very busy, verse 36 points out that Jesus still had time to observe the world around him. What did Jesus observe about the people he was ministering to on his travels?

Look at verse 37. Jesus never tells the disciples (or us!) to sit and wait for people to come to them. Rather, Jesus gives a different set of instructions. What were they?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Why is it more effective for us to go out into the world to share the gospel, rather than for us to wait for people to come into our church?

In order for us to be aware of the tremendous brokenness of our world, we must take the time to not only see the brokenness, but have compassion on those whose lives are broken. How would you rate your level of attentiveness and compassion these days? How can you increase it?

Are there some people in your life that are going through things that you’ve just been too busy to notice or offer assistance for? What are some different ways that can you show them compassion that would model Matthew 9:35-38?

PRAY… What do you want me to know and do?
In the space below, write out a prayer to God on behalf of the people in your lives who don’t have a relationship with Christ, yet they are in a tough place right now:

 

Have you prayed today for the people you want to invite? Y N
Have you invited them? Y N

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Leviticus 4-6
Chapter 4: In this chapter, God outlines a fact that is still true today: sin, even unintentional sin, is still sin—and it must be reckoned with. Our society demands a “pass” for accidental errors, yet both Old and New Testament scripture requires us to understand that God’s holiness demands that sin be punished. There are a great deal of people who believe that being a “good person” will get them by when they appear before God. However, Isaiah 53:6 (remember from Monday) and Romans 3:23 remind us that every one of us has sin that must be addressed.
Chapter 5: While we are no longer bound to Levitical laws because Jesus came as the final sacrifice for us, there are some good principles to think about in this chapter. How much better would our lives be if we would just admit our wrongdoing as soon as we realized we had done wrong—intentionally or not? Immediately acknowledging our wrongdoing shields us against pride, which has the ability to harden our hearts to God’s voice in our lives. When we do not acknowledge our wrongdoing, it is like we are trying to hide it from ourselves and others— perhaps even God. Immediately confessing our sins to God and others is the right thing to do.
Chapter 6: During this time, God identified stealing as more than just taking what didn’t belong. He expanded stealing to finding or borrowing something and failing to return it to its owner. Notice how during that time restitution was made by paying the full price plus an additional 20% interest. Then, a guilt offering had to be made—on the same day. While it is not acceptable (or legal) in our society today to sacrifice an animal as a guilt offering, the point was that God expected that any wrongdoing be immediately rectified in order to maintain harmony within the community and with God.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.2.11

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.2.11.

TUESDAY — Why we do what we do…
Big Point: CedarCreek Church exists to help spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ. (CedarCreek.tv Mission)

“I was handed an invite card when I was walking around at Harrison Rally Days in Perrysburg with my friends who were not too pumped about going to church. My first time at CedarCreek was during the MySpace series on September 21, 2008. I loved it and have been coming ever since. I didn’t get involved in volunteering with Vertical (high school ministry) until April 2009 when I gave my life to Christ during the Easter service. Oh, and that group of friends I was walking with the day I was invited are now the core student leaders in Vertical.” —Brooke Thomas, student

READ…What does the Bible say?
Acts 2:39-42 (New Living Translation)
39“This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!…” 41Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. 42All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

1 Corinthians 10:33 (New Living Translation)
33I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

THINK…Find the answers
In Acts 2:39-42, many people were saved after hearing Peter’s powerful, spirit-filled message. What four things did the new believers do to signify their new faith? How are those things important in the life of a new believer?

Read 1 Corinthians 10:33. When we make the good of others one of our primary goals, rather than focusing on doing what we like best, how does this affect our overall attitude? Why is this attitude important when it comes to sharing the gospel message?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Our approach here at CedarCreek Church is to do what’s best for those who are unchurched and spiritually restless. When you first came to CedarCreek, what was it about CedarCreek that you liked best? What made you keep coming back?

We unapologetically serve free pop and coffee and play some secular music. While it might make some Christians feel uncomfortable, how do the non-traditional things we do at CedarCreek make visitors feel welcome?

Look at the Five Agreements of CedarCreek Church. How do these agreements reflect Jesus’ commands to Christians in the New Testament?

The Five Agreements of CedarCreek Church
We agree that the cause of the church is the greatest cause on the planet.
We agree to do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. (This means music styles and outreach methods.)
We agree that the church can never get too big! If we obey the commands of Jesus, the church will grow! To say a church is too big is to give up on the mission of Christ.
We agree to be an example of Jesus’ love behind and beyond the walls of CedarCreek. We want to be known as a church that expresses radical love to our own as well as others.
We agree to do more with less. The average mega church spends $2,250 per person, per year. At CedarCreek, we spend a third of that, or $760 per person. The average church in America has one full-time staff member for every 80 people—our ratio is 1 to 140.

Have you prayed today for the people you want to invite? Y N

Have you invited them? Y N

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to give you boldness and help you pick up on the opportunities you may have to tell the people on your invite list about CedarCreek.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Leviticus 1-3
Theme of the book: In order to approach a holy God, sin must be dealt with. God designed sacrifice as a way to seek forgiveness and restore a relationship with Him. There were a variety of sacrifices so that each one would have meaning and relate to specific life situations. The first seven chapters of Leviticus describe them and how they are to be used. There are five topics addressed in this book: sacrifices/offerings, worship, health, holiness and the Levite priests.
Chapter 1: Sacrifices were God’s Old Testament way for people to ask for forgiveness for their sins. Many people ask why did God go into such detail. God was teaching the Israelites a new way of life and deprogramming them from the pagan practices they had learned in Egypt. The strict guidelines were there to keep them from falling back into their old lifestyle.
Chapter 2: Yeast was not allowed in the grain offering because it was a bacterial fungus and therefore, a symbol for sin. Just as a little yeast affects the entire dough, a little sin can ruin an entire life. Salt, however, was commanded because it symbolized God’s activity in a person’s life because it penetrates, preserves and aids in healing.
Chapter 3: A peace offering was a way of expressing gratitude and a means of maintaining fellowship between a person and God. The sacrifice of the animal symbolized the importance of gratitude and maintaining harmony with God.