Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.30.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

WEDNESDAY— Fall Down to Christ
Big Point: Our gratitude should be a result of God’s grace for us, His free, undeserving gift He offers to each of us.

        When a top executive is caught for embezzlement or a church minister is involved in an illicit affair, you will often hear the phrase “fallen from grace”. We have come to believe that when someone falls into sin, he falls from grace.
        Grace is a pillar of our faith; it is God’s gracious love for us that rescues us from our sin and an eternity separated from Him. Grace is God showing us favor that is totally unmerited.
        God wants us to know that when someone falls into sin, he does not fall from grace. He actually falls into grace! And God’s grace is there to put him back on his feet.

READ…What does the Bible say?
2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

1 Peter 5:10 (New International Version)
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Romans 1:21 (New Living Translation)
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.

THINK…Find the answers
In 2 Corinthians 2:9 the Apostle Paul writes that God’s grace is sufficient. What does this mean to you?

Christ followers are to live with the understanding that God’s purposes realized in the future often require some struggles in the present. What does 1 Peter 5:10 promise us will happen after we experience struggles in our lives?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Can you think of a time in your life that things were not going well, possibly a time when you really messed up and you were down? How did God’s grace help you?

 

Lyrics to the world’s most popular
hymn…
Amazing Grace
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

“Everything we do should be a result of our gratitude for what God has done for us.”
-Lauryn Hill

Are you aware of God’s goodness in your life? Is God’s goodness directly related to your current state of physical comfort and happiness?

On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your awareness of the goodness of which you are a recipient (1=not at all; 5=very aware)? Circle one.
1           2           3           4           5

If you are experiencing difficulty right now in your life, make 1 Peter 5:10 your prayer and ask God to show you His grace. Take a moment and write down your request to God.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to be the one constant reliable thing in your life. Praise Him and thank Him for His unconditional love -when times are good and when times are tough.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 2 Chronicles 21-24
21:6 Jehoram married Athaliah the daughter of King Ahab. Her mother was Jezebel, one of the most wicked women that Israel had ever known. 21:8-11 Jehoram’s reign was one of sin and cruelty. Yet he was not killed in battle or by treachery, but died of a lingering and painful disease. Our punishment for sin is not always immediate, but eventually, we suffer the consequences of our sin when we continue to ignore God’s commands.
23:15-17 Athaliah’s life ended as her mother’s had, by execution. Her life of idolatry and treachery was cut short by God’s judgment of her sin. By this time, though, Judah had slipped so far away from God that Baal was worshipped in Jerusalem.
24:5 The Levites took their time in carrying out the king’s order even though he told them to make haste. Offerings for keeping the Temple were not just the king’s wish but were also God’s command. The Levites were not only disregarding the king but disregarding God. When it comes to obeying God, a slow response is little better than no response. Obey God willingly and immediately.
24:18-20 When King Joash and the nation abandoned God, God sent Zechariah to call them to repentance. Before judgment and punishment, God gave them a second chance. God does not abandon us or lash out in revenge when we sin but he aggressively pursues us through His word, His Spirit in us and through the words of others. He desires for us to return to Him. When you move away from God remember He is pursuing you to return to Him.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.29.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

TUESDAY — Shout Out to God
Big Point: Speak out with gratitude concerning the goodness in your life.

        Every day millions of people wake up and start the day with a beverage of some kind. It could be coffee, milk, juice, or water. Clean water. For millions, this beverage is in the cupboard, in the refrigerator, and it even comes out of this built-in spout when they effortlessly turn a knob. How awesome is that?
        Every day millions of people eat a few meals and many snacks through out the day. They have food in their cupboards, in their refrigerator, and it is available in most every store. How lucky are these people?
        Have you ever been in a place where the previous statements were not true for you? You woke up to nothing to drink or eat all day. How about standing in line for hours to see if the local food bank can help with groceries? How about walking 3 miles, every day, to get brown, dirty water to drink and use to make meals for your family?
        Does your life reflect a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the things God has given you and your family? Does your life shout out the goodness that God has given you?

READ…What does the Bible say?
Psalm 105:1 (New Living Translation)
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Psalm 92:1-2 (New Living Translation) It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening.

THINK…Find the answers
According to Psalm 105:1,what is it that we should let the whole world know what?

In Psalm 92, we are given instructions on what to do and how often to do it. What instructions are given, and what is the frequency with which we’re supposed to do follow them? Instructions: Frequency:

LIVE…What will you do now?
There is a difference between being thankfulness and gratitude. Thankfulness is being conscious of the benefits received. Gratitude is being appreciative for the good in your life. Henri Frederic Amiel puts it this way: “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in act.” How often do you appreciate out loud the good people and gifts in your life?

The scriptures tell us to give thanks and shout it out loud (tell the world). List three things that you can demonstrate or speak out daily to show thankfulness and gratitude to God:

1.

2.

3.

Put this list in a place that will remind you everyday to live life filled with praise for all the good things God has given you.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray that God will open your eyes and your heart to the good things in life and all the things that we have to be thankful for. Ask God to provide wisdom to find ways to shout praise, tell the world, and become advocates to help those in need.

• One billion people do not have adequate drinking water.
• Every 19 seconds, someone dies from a curable water related cause.

Visit verticallife.tv/thirst to find out how you can help!

Vertical (CedarCreek’s high school ministry) just started the Thirst Campaign.
Goal: Raise $5,000 for a well in Honduras.
Action: 19 Day Challenge, November 20th—December 9th

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 2 Chronicles 16-20
16:7-10 Although God delivered Judah and Israel when they were outnumbered in battle, they repeatedly sought outside help instead of relying on God. It is not a sin to use human means to solve our problems but it is a sin to trust in them more than in God, to think they are better than God’s ways or to leave God out of the problem-solving process.
17:7-9 Jehoshaphat realized that knowing God’s commandments was the first step in getting his people to live as they should. Because of this action the nation began to follow God. Exposure to Bible teaching and Bible study are essential to living as God intends.
18:3-8 Before making the commitment with King Ahab, Jehoshaphat rightly sought God’s advice but chose to ignore it. It does us no good to seek God’s advice and then not follow through with it. Real love for God is shown not in just seeking God’s advice but also in following His direction.
18:31 Jehoshaphat’s troubles began once he joined forces with evil King Ahab, but instead of just accepting the consequences of his sin he cried out to God who saved him. While we may deserve what happens to us because of sin there is no reason not to cry out for God’s help in all times of trouble.
20:6 Jehoshaphat’s prayer to the Lord had several essential ingredients that still hold true today: he committed the situation to God, acknowledging that only God could save the nation; he sought God’s favor because his people were God’s people; he acknowledged God’s sovereignty over the current situation; he praised God’s glory and took comfort in His promises; and he had complete dependence on God, not himself, for deliverance.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.28.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Gratitude

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, a time we traditionally stop and give thanks for the blessings in our lives, for things going well. But what about everything else? What about thanking God for what He’s done or has yet to do in your life? Right now it may be hard to see God at work when our country is facing financial difficulties and overseas threats. Right now it may be hard to see God at work when so many in our community are without jobs, some without homes and food. But whether we see the signs or not, God is at work in our country. He is also at work in our community, and He wants to be part of our daily lives.
G.K. Chesterton has a great quote that puts this in perspective: “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” Recently, a Life- Group celebrated Thanksgiving, but instead of going around the room and sharing their blessings they thought they should spend time reviewing their 2011 prayer requests and reflect on how God had answered those requests. They were surprised at how long the list of answered prayers was, and recalled events and blessings long forgotten about. They also recalled requests that didn’t have a happy ending, or are still ongoing, and were reminded to continue to bring those requests to God and to trust in His wisdom and power in those situations and to always be thankful.
This past weekend, in Ben’s talk about gratitude, he used the biblical illustration of ten men Jesus healed from a terrible disease, leprosy. Only one of these men returned and expressed gratitude to Jesus for healing him. If you don’t know anything about leprosy, it is a progressive disease whose main indicator is skin lesions. Left untreated, leprosy can cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes. Secondary infections can result in tissue loss causing fingers and toes to become shortened and deformed (Wikipedia.org). Because leprosy can be transmitted through contact, in biblical times, as well as modern third world countries, they formed leper colonies where the people were isolated and removed from the main population (Read more about this on Monday).
Even after a life-changing transformation, only one leper remembered to show gratitude to Jesus. How often do we react to God the same way? We worry and fret and pray about events and people in our lives and then when God answers our prayers we forget to thank Him and move onto the next prayer request.
Even though we’re in the thick of the holiday season, take time this week to honestly evaluate your level of gratitude towards God. Spend time daily thanking and praising God, and taking communion. We pray that this Living it Out Bible study will encourage you to have a grateful heart, during good and bad times.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
-John F. Kennedy

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL DIG DEEPER INTO THE CONCEPT OF GRATITUDE—HOW AND WHY IT SHOULD BE EXPRESSED.

MONDAY — See and Recognize God
Big Point: Our relationship with God grows as we learn to see Him, recognize His work in our lives, and become thankful.

        Lepers, like the men in this week’s Bible story, would have lived on the outskirts of town apart from everyone. If they had to come near “normal” people for any reason, they would shout and announce their presence. How degrading and humiliating! Imagine for a moment having to shout out your biggest, ugliest, most embarrassing faults any time you came into contact with another person. Now imagine that in an instant all those things disappeared. Once the lepers were declared clean, they could go back to their families and lives. Certainly it’s a moment in life a person would never forget.
        Yet according to this week’s story, 9 out of 10 people took the gift of healing that God gave them without being thankful. Granted, this is a small sampling of people. However, the point remains. Thankfulness does not come naturally. It must be a conscious act. A decision. An attitude that we decide to put on.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
-Eric Hoffer, Reflections On
The Human Condition

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 17:14-15 (New Living Translation)
14He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”

Psalm 34:8 (New Living Translation)
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

THINK…Find the answers
Read Luke 17:14-15. What directions did Jesus give the ten lepers? What happened when they followed Jesus’ directions? Direction: Result:

In verse 13, the lepers called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Look again at verses 14 and 15. What does the one man who returns call Jesus? How are they different?
Calls Jesus:
Difference:

According to Psalm 34, how do we know that God is good?

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old fashioned ingratitude.”
-Robert Brault

LIVE…What will you do now?
All of the lepers received healing. Do you think the one who returned gained anything in addition to healing? If so, what was it?

How is it that the other nine lepers could just go about living their new lives? Why do you suppose we fail to see God and recognize His hand in our lives? Think about the moments of your day when you feel the farthest from God.

What do you think it means to “taste and see” God’s goodness? How is it related to taking refuge in God?

From what area of your life might God be calling you to seek refuge in Him? (Probably something that is taking up a lot of time and energy.) How can you turn it over to Him?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Thank God for who He is and what He has done for you. Commit to a heart of thankfulness this week, each day, throughout the day. Pray that through this discipline you will grow in a deeper relationship with the Lord.

“Thank Me for everything; trust in Me at all times. These simple disciplines will keep you open to My loving Presence.”
-Sarah Young, Jesus
Calling

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 2 Chronicles 11-15
11:4 God supported the rebellion because it was the nation’s punishment for turning away from God and because He wanted to prevent the smaller kingdom from destruction. In doing so, God preserved David’s lineage and kept intact His plans for the Messiah to be a descendant of David.
12:6-8 God lessened His punishment when Israel’s leaders confessed their sins, humbled themselves and recognized God’s justice in punishing them. It is never too late to repent, even in the midst of punishment. Regardless of what we have done God is always willing to return us to fellowship with Him.
13:8 Jeroboam’s army was cursed because of the golden calves he carried into battle. It was as if he put his sin into physical form so he could carry it around. Anything that you cherish more than your relationship with God is idolatry and becomes your golden calf. It will eventually drag you down. Let go of anything that interferes with your relationship with God.
14:1-6 Asa’s reign was marked with peace because he did what was pleasing to the Lord, his God. This repeat throughout Chronicles-obedience to God leads to lasting peace with God and others. Obeying God is the first step to peace.
15:14, 15 Many people find it difficult to fully commit to anything, but Asa and his people were different – they clearly committed themselves to God. This decision and their wholehearted commitment pleased God and lead to peace for the nation. Peace comes as a by-product from wholeheartedly giving your life over to God.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.25.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Spirit

FRIDAY — Bow down, Worship and Put God First
Big Point: When you give God first place in your life you will have all you need.

        At the beginning of the week, we learned that filling our lives with junk can give us a false sense of security. It’s hard to believe but the junk could very well include our obsessive pursuit of pleasing people, meeting goals, making money, gaining stature and collecting things. Before you know it, that junk takes first place in our life. By now, we pray you realize that Christ wants to be first in your life, second to nothing else. When we say nothing, we mean nothing!
        Christ wants us to wake up and yearn for him with such a deep longing that it is actually painful when we realize we have not bowed down and worshipped him and put him first. Are you struggling to know what that’s like? Think about leaving the house without your cell phone. Most people would describe that as a painful experience. So painful that most people would stop whatever they are doing, turn around and get their phone. Can you relate to this? Well, that’s exactly the priority Christ wants in your life—first place!

If you put Christ first, you will always be first.
Put Christ second and you will always be last!

 

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 10:9-10 (New Living Translation)
9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Matthew 6:33 (New Living Translation)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

THINK…Find the answers
Romans 10:9-10 makes it clear that we need to confess with our mouth that Christ is Lord of our life. What also must happen in our heart?

What does Matthew 6:33 say we must seek above all else to have all we need?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Reflect on this week’s study. List any struggles that you are having with understanding how your own success, intelligence, confidence and thoughts on religion still may hinder your ability to humble yourself before God.

After completing this week’s study, we hope that you understand why humbling yourself and putting Christ first will give you everything you need. If you are not convinced, explain what the basis of your hesitation is:

If you are looking for a way to catch a vision for God, become more self aware and put God first, we encourage you to check out ways to become a Missional Member at CedarCreek. Go to cedarcreek.tv under “get connected” to learn more.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you bow down and worship Him daily and to always put Him first so that you have everything you need.

Weekend Updates!
• Baptism Classes and New Community:
Baptism Classes will be held at all campuses on Sunday, November 20th at 9am. Additional classes will be held at the Whitehouse campus only on Saturday, November 19th at 5:15pm and on Sunday, November 27th at 9am. New Community services will be held on Sunday, December 4th at 6:00pm at the Whitehouse Campus.
• Women’s Ministry event—A Thousand Gifts: Sign up at any Welcome Center or online at cedarcreek.tv, under the “get connected tab” and classes and seminars to join in on an evening of fun, light snacks and girl talk, Thursday, December 1st at 6:30pm.

 

Living It Out: *NEW* November 2011
Give all your worries and cares to God for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 (New Living Translation)

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

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

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

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

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

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:
Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Jan Martensen

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Amber McCool
Emily Francis
Diana Patton
Rebecka Blevins
Tyler Dunlap

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 2 Chronicles 6-10
6:1
“thick darkness” or some translations “thick cloud”. God was present in the thick darkness of the cloud on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:21), and now has graciously come to dwell in the Most Holy Place of the temple. This was in fulfillment of God’s promise to David (1 Chronicles 17:5).
6:3 “assembly” Hebrew term denoting a gathering of people for any type of occasion. It is used in a secular sense to designate civil meetings and war counsels. The word is also used to speak of the gathering of individuals for religious purposes.
6:12-13 The prayer of dedication is offered from a specially constructed platform before the altar of burnt offering, in front of the temple entrance.
6:23 “hear from heaven” Although God had chosen to be present on earth at the temple, He also transcended the temple building. Solomon’s request underscores God’s transcendence. Phrase was also used in verses 25, 27 and 30. 7:12-21 God’s second appearance to Solomon to answer his requests and petitions. The promises God gives are based on conditions and obedience, if…then. If God’s people humbled themselves, prayed and turned back to God, He would hear, forgive and heal them.
8:4 “fortified cities” Solomon built fortified cities to provide protection for his own caravans and they became custom points where Solomon collected taxes.
8:4 “storage cities” Facilities throughout Solomon’s outlying provinces to provide warehouses for his armies and merchantmen, as well as store produce and other tributes paid by vassal states.
9:14 A tribute is a form of taxation on vassal states, not a voluntary gift.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.24.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Spirit

THURSDAY— Self Awareness leads to Humility
Big Point: Brokenness can be a game changer that can keep us in constant awareness of Christ’s presence and the need to remain humble.

        You may wonder, “How is it that someone who is at the top of their game becomes aware of themselves and in return, catches a vision for God?” Over the past few days, we have read about two very popular icons in the music industry that caught a vision for God and in return, they realized how their pompous, arrogant and confident ways that likely lead to their success were actually killing them. They began to, as last week’s message pointed out, “check their backside.” That is, they began to examine themselves. The reason is because while the world filled their earthly desires, they were empty of their eternal desires … to experience the love and forgiveness that comes from a personal relationship with Christ. As a result of their self-examination, they became disgusted with their sinful ways and they began to earnestly seek God.
        It’s a fact; being broken in Spirit can lead to the most powerful redemptive work of Christ. When we are broken, God can show up in a powerful way but we must be aware of those things and constantly be on the look-out for them. Even in those times in life when we wonder if we will ever be okay again, we can look to God in the struggle and always be aware of His presence. Once we experience brokenness, we realize our own depravation and need for God’s grace in our own lives.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elizabeth Kubler Ross

READ…What does the Bible say?
Romans 3:23 (New Living Translation)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Psalms 139:23 (New Living Translation) Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

THINK…Find the answers
In Romans 8:28, what does God cause to work together for good?

Does God have knowledge of our anxious thoughts, according to Psalms 139:23?

In Romans 3:23, who falls short of God’s standard?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Are you aware of how you have fallen short of God’s glory? If so, list three ways you feel you have fallen:
1.
2.
3.

God can use your life for His purpose. List the ways you can become more aware of how God can do His work in your life:
1.
2.
3.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you be aware of your own shortcomings and to look to Him for answers to questions on ways to become more humble.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 2 Chronicles 1-5
2 Chronicles was written during the Babylonian exile. God’s judgment on Israel resulted in exile. During the exile only a small remnant of Israelites were living among Babylonians and they were struggling to understand Israel’s place. Had God’s promises to Abraham and David been revoked because of the nation’s sin? Could Judaism survive without the temple? 2 Chronicles answers questions such as these. The book is a historical review with emphasis on the more spiritual aspects, less on individual accomplishments. God had always been good to those who remained true to Him, and that pattern would also be true for the future. The author is known as the Chronicler. Many scholars believe it is Ezra, who also has a book named after him in the Old Testament.
1:1 “exalted him exceedingly”. Same wording in 1 Chronicles 29:25, an indication that first and second Chronicles are one book in the original Hebrew bible. When Solomon obeyed God, God blessed him.
1:3 “high places”. Comes from the fact that many ancient worshippers used hills for their sacred rites, thinking such places were good “meeting points” between heaven and earth. In the Old Testament the high places were usually associated with pagan, particularly Canaanite religion, but there was nothing inherently evil about using a hilltop as a place of worship. Thus the patriarchs (Genesis 12:8; 22:2) and other worshippers of God offered their sacrifices on high places (1 Samuel 9:12; 1 Kings 18:19, 36-38). The evil was not in the high place itself, but in the pagan rituals that were practiced there.
1:5 “Bezalel” was one of two men especially chosen by God to build the tabernacle in the wilderness.
2:1 “a temple for the name of the Lord”. God’s “name” in association with a place signifies His actual presence there among His people, where God may be met and petitioned. Yet in no sense is God contained or limited by His localized presence.
Chapter 3-4. The extravagance in the temple is outlined in these two chapters. Nothing was too good for the temple of God. David outlined the plan and Solomon completed it and more so.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.23.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Spirit

WEDNESDAY— Get a Vision for God
Big Point: We so often chase after the possessions and trappings of this world, hoping that they can fill an emptiness we have inside, that never seems fully satisfied.

        Brian “Head” Welch found fame, notoriety and wealth as the lead guitarist of the heavy metal band Korn. He played for sold out concerts, basking in the worship and adoration of his fans; but he was still searching for something to bring lasting happiness and peace to a life that was beginning to spin out of control.
        Although he had all that this world could offer and he was at the top of his career, alcohol and drug abuse led him to rock bottom. He had a daily methamphetamine addiction and all the terrible things he said he would never do were beginning to happen. Brian feared that his drug habit would take his life, just as it had taken the life of his young daughter’s mother. He knew that he was not the example he should be to his daughter but didn’t know how to stop; his strength to change his life was completely broken. Until one day a friend gave Brian a Bible and invited him to church.
        It was there that Brian caught a vision for God. Brian accepted Jesus as his Savior. Brian remembers being filled with the love and awe of the Savior so much so that he struggled to fully describe the event in his iamsecond.com video testimony. Eventually, Brain stopped using drugs and quit the band Korn in order to devote himself fully to his daughter and to a solo, Christian music career. Brian has found through his brokenness the only thing that will bring him lasting joy and satisfaction – and that is a relationship with God.

READ…What Does the Bible Say?
Romans 7:18-19 (New Living Translation)
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

Isaiah 6:5 (New Living Translation)
…I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips.

THINK…Find the answers
Reread Romans 7:18 & 19. What does the scripture say about our human nature? What does the scripture say about knowing what is good and having the ability to be good? Isaiah 6:5 admits a lot about how sinful man can be,? How does the scripture describe our sinfulness?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Brian Welch found out that his life style and addictions had left him defeated and broken, but it was through this brokenness that he caught a vision of God and how he needed him in his life. Brian basically recited Isaiah 6:5 as it relates to his son in his video testimony.

What areas of your life have left you broken and ready for God?

Have you ever caught a vision for God? If so, describe that experience:

List three worldly things that you often chase to bring you a sense of happiness:
1.
2.
3.

Describe in detail how these things bring you (or fail to bring you) a deep sense of joy and peace.

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Pray and ask God to show you what worldly things you are relying on to bring lasting joy. Ask God to use your brokenness to form a closer relationship with Him.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Joel 1-3
“The day of the Lord” is a central theme. There is no period that is not “the day of the Lord” in a general sense. But at times God enters the space-time arena to assert in bold, dramatic ways that He is in control. The day of the Lord is a major theme of the Old Testament prophecy; 13 of 16 prophets address this subject. While most references speak of future events, five biblical texts describe the day of the Lord as past judgments. The day of the Lord is not just a day of wrath and judgment on the disobedient. In some contexts, it also includes deliverance and restoration for the righteous. The day of the Lord speaks of future hope, prosperity and blessing.
1:4 Many interpreters have viewed this locust swarm as foreign armies that attacked Judah in successive waves – Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome. Yet literal locust plagues were one of the judgments promised if the people disobeyed God and broke their covenant with Him (Deuteronomy 28:38, 39, 42). Further, Joel’s description of the damage done by the locust compares with eyewitness reports.
1:4 A Locust is a kind of grasshopper; under the right conditions they will travel in large swarms and devastate all plant life in their path.
1:7 “the vine… the fig tree”. The vine and the fig tree are symbols of a prosperous and peaceful Israel, which the Lord sees as His property.
1:8 “sackcloth” A garment of goat or camel hair worn during times of mourning, repentance or fasting.
1:10 Presence of grain, wine and oil is evidence of God’s covenant blessing and their absence is evidence of His judgment.
2:28-32 Peter quotes this passage in his first sermon in the book of Acts (Acts 2:17 -21) on the day of Pentecost. Scholars today argue about if and how much of the prophecy was fulfilled, but the reality is that 3000 people became followers of Jesus that day.
3:2 “Valley of Jehoshaphat” Jehoshaphat means “Yahweh has judged”. Valley refers to a place of final judgment rather than a known geographical location.
3:14 “valley of decision”. This is the valley of Jehoshaphat, where the Lord will be the judge. Only the Lord makes decisions in this valley, and His decree is absolute.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.22.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Spirit

TUESDAY— Humility Blocker: Confidence and Religion
Big Point: Going to church and living a “good” religious life does not make us a Christian any more than spending the night in the garage makes us a car.

        It seems at times we are so confident in our skill, talents and abilities that we can often miss what is most important. Take this story for example:

        “A minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of the parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped. The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped. The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.” The Boy Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just picked up my knapsack and jumped out!

        It seems the computer whiz was so confident in his knowledge that he missed the obvious, don’t you think? Often times, when we start acting out our religious activities and considering ourselves better than others because we look the part, we lose out too, missing the most obvious. Jesus shares a little bit of how this can get us in a bit of trouble as described in the scriptures below.

READ…What Does the Bible Say?
Proverbs 14:12 (New Living Translation)
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Luke 18:9-14 (New Living Translation)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

THINK…Find the answers
What path is Proverbs 14:12 referring to that will end in death?

What is Jesus trying to share with us in the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee as described in Luke 18:9-14? What’s wrong with having great confidence in your own righteousness?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Are there any places in your life where your talents, skills and abilities are actually driving you away from God instead of closer to him? List them here:

 

 

Can you think of one talent, skill or ability that you can use to exalt God instead of exalting yourself? List that here:

 

 

Do you find yourself being religious for the sake of religion as opposed to growing in a deeper relationship with Christ and drawing others closer to him? If so, write out how you can convert your religious actions to more Christ-centered actions:

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you take your confidence level down a notch so that you don’t miss out on the most obvious way to experience humility. Ask Him to remove any thoughts and actions that make your religious ways trump a deep relationship with Him.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 1 Chronicles 25-29
David has been told by God that he will not be the one to build the temple, Solomon will. David begins preparations for the temple building project by accumulating iron, bronze, silver, gold and different types of wood (1 Chronicles 22:1-5). David shows his great leadership ability and desire that the temple activities be orderly and in line with what Moses had done before him. He starts to organize the temple serving apparatus, Levites, priests and musicians, as well as organizing civil and military leadership.
In 1 Chronicles chapters 23-27 the names of individuals with their respective positions are listed. The Chronicler goes to great lengths to list and recognize the many faithful servants of God.
Ch. 28 David announces publicly what he had done in private: he would not build the temple, Solomon would, and God chose Solomon to follow David as king.
28:6 “my son…his father”. This remarkable statement not only shows that the Davidic king enjoyed unparalleled access to the Lord, but it anticipates the absolute “sonship” of the Son of David, Jesus Christ (See Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5).
28:11-19 David passes on to Solomon the temple plans that he received as a revelation from God, just as Moses received the plan “patterns” for the tabernacle from God (Exodus 25:9, 40).
28:7, 9 The establishment of Solomon’s kingdom is dependent on his obedience to God’s commands.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 11.21.11

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Series: Broken
This Week: Spirit

Did you happen to see Lee’s video this past weekend where he showed how one innocent trip to the grocery store for a candy bar quickly turned into an entire cart full of junk? It’s a well known fact, you should never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, the idea being that you often will buy everything that looks good, sounds good, and smells good. Even if it doesn’t look that good, you’ll likely buy it because you are longing for something to fill you. The funny thing is, it’s not likely that you will fill up on things that are good for you. The opposite always seems true. How often do you find yourself gravitating to the produce section and filling your cart with things that are good for you when you are hungry—like fruits and vegetables? For most of us, that’s just not likely. More often than not, folks will find themselves nibbling on some Cheetos faster rather than nibbling on some broccoli while waiting in line to check out.
Adam Cufr’s testimony, shown in the video this past weekend, echoed this exact idea. Even with a successful career and a beautiful family, Adam felt empty and lost—he was hungry for something. Luckily, Adam did not try to fill up the emptiness with the wrong things but responded to God’s continual call to him through the people he encountered during his everyday life.
Every day we make choices about what we do, what we spend our time on, and what we will fill our mind and hearts with. If we approach our lives hungry and empty, we have the propensity to fill up on all the wrong things. Perhaps the past two weekend messages about Broken Dreams or Broken Relationships didn’t relate to you. Maybe this past week’s message did. For some people, hitting rock bottom happens at the top of life, when things seem to be going right. It’s the point where you have everything you thought you wanted, where you have achieved what you have set out to achieve, where you should be basking in joy and contentment. But after awhile you find that you have been filling your life with the wrong things. You may have reached this point and have started to wonder, is this how success is supposed to feel?
If so, perhaps Matthew 5:3 can shed some light as to why you feel discontent. it states, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (The Message). When we are not filled up with God, we search for things to fill up our emptiness. But in order to fill us, God has to empty us first. We have to remove everything we have built up in our hearts, the things we have turned to instead of God, just like the junk in Lee’s shopping cart.
This weekend we learned that a broken spirit is actually a good thing! It is only after we are broken and emptied by God that He can fill us with faith and humility. God fills us as we learn to catch a vision of Him, become more self-aware, and ultimately, bow down and worship Him—putting Him first in our lives. However, there can be road blocks on our path to humility. In this study, you will be challenged to think about how our own success, intelligence, confidence, and even our religious behavior sometimes keeps us from being truly broken, empty of pride and full of humility.

For some people, hitting rock bottom happens at the top of their game … and that can be a good thing.

THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL HELP US UNDERSTAND WHY
HAVING A BROKEN SPIRIT IS A GOOD THING.

MONDAY — Humility Blocker: Success and Intelligence
Big Point – Sometimes it takes “Hitting the Top” to realize how low you have sunk.

        In the early and mid 80’s Run-DMC was one of the most popular groups who ignited a revolution that brought hip-hop into the front-line, across television barriers, into the record industry platinum realm, and straight ahead to the “mash-ups” that are today’s new frontiers of rap and rock. It’s very likely you could probably rattle off one of Run-DMC’s raps with no hesitation. Well, there is no doubt, Run “aka Joey Simmons” was highly successful and intelligent and he had everything he could have ever wanted, but when he “Hit the Top” he found that having all that he wanted left him empty.
        When Run was at the top of his game, he tells the story of the moment he realized he wanted more, and it was nothing that could ever be bought. The story goes that Run was in a hotel room in LA, and Rolling Stones magazine was coming over. He had all the drugs he could ever want, ample female companionship and right in the midst of all this happening, he just broke down. He remembered saying to himself that he wanted something more. It was at that point he turned to God. He turned not because he had nothing else of a material nature to cling to, but because he realized there was a hole in his heart that could only be filled by a relationship with Christ.
        From that point, Run became known as Reverend Run, now known as “Rev Run” and the rest is history… (to listen to Rev Run’s entire testimony, put the following link in your web browser: http://vimeo.com/29334597)

Chasing pleasure did not fill me…
“Rev Run”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 9:25 (New Living Translation)
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (The Message)
18-21The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness … Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb— preaching…to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

THINK…Find the answers
Luke 9:25 poses a unique question. What is Christ trying to help us understand by posing the question in this manner? Paul realized when he wrote 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 that the message about Christ and the “world’s message” were at odds, but what does Paul want us to understand about God’s wisdom?

LIVE…What will you do now?
You may feel at odds with the message of humility. Most people aspire to be successful and intelligent. In fact, in a poll taken by a group of women, they listed success and intelligence among the top 6 things they looked for in a man. Yet, these are the attributes that could very well block the path to becoming humble and growing in a deeper relationship with Christ. And as we read, the more you fill your “success and intelligence-o-meter,” the more empty you become without Christ. Can you relate? In what ways has your pursuit for success and intelligence hindered your ability to draw closer to God?

What if you suddenly had everything you could ever want (or perhaps you already do), how do you think that would work for you?

Do you find yourself searching for something that will ultimately fill you? If so, what is it?

What one action could you take this week that shows that you are turning to God to fulfill your life as opposed to other things?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Go find a quiet place or the next time you get in your car turn off your radio, IPod, and sit in silence. Visualize yourself in ten years. What does your life look like? What are you doing? Are you fulfilled? Why? What part does God play in your life? Now take what you have just visualized and ask God to lead your vision. Ask Him to come into your life right now and be all that you could ever want or need.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 1 Chronicles 20-24
20:1
Military operations were conducted in the spring of the year for two reasons: 1. The latter rains were over and the dry months of summer, most suitable for military activity, were at hand; and, 2. The barley harvests were in and the wheat harvests sufficiently along to free men of military age for battle.
21:1 Satan means Adversary. The term generally refers to someone as an adversary, but the noun can refer to a specific individual (the Adversary or Satan). Many mistake Satan for God’s equal, which he is not! This is the dualistic pattern often described in eastern religion, i.e. Satan and God being two opposite sides of the same. Satan’s true counterpart in the Bible is the archangel Michael.
21:1 “incited David to number Israel”. The census itself was not sinful, God Himself called for a census in Numbers 1. It was David’s attitude, in particular his pride and self confidence, rather than God’s confidence that drove the calling for a census. Also, David neglected to levy a poll tax for a census as required by Exodus
30:12, a failure that in itself would result in God’s judgment.
21:8 “I have sinned”. David blamed no one but himself for the judgment fallen on the nation. He rightly believed that if God would forgive him, the affliction of the nation would cease.