Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.8.11

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 8.1.11

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Pre-Big Push: The Power of a Personal Invitation

Is it possible for one invitation to change the lives of countless others? You bet! During this past weekend, Kyle shared the story of an invitation he extended over thirteen years ago. Back then, CedarCreek weekend services were being held at the old Perrysburg Junior High and the church office (including music practice room) was located near the Pizza Hut. The restaurant was a popular place for the CedarCreek musicians to meet before practice.

Kyle was a newly-minted pastor and as a young guy, he liked to eat. During their frequent visits to Pizza Hut the music team befriended their server Linda and Kyle invited her to church. Linda was raised Catholic, but had lots of questions about God. In time, Linda began attending the Creek and eventually, Kyle shared the gospel message and she accepted Christ.

However, Linda’s mother, Sue was concerned about this new church her daughter was attending. Sue decided to check out CedarCreek’s weekend service for herself. She loved it! A few years after attending CedarCreek, Sue got married and her husband, Don moved to Ohio and started attending CedarCreek and serving as well.

Sue Spencer was one of our earliest regularly volunteers at CedarCreek. Last month she passed away after a 17-year battle with cancer. Kyle’s parents, Bob and JoAnne Gray, became close friends with Sue and Don a several years ago. These days, the Grays and other friends are by Don’s side as he grieves the loss of such an amazing woman. Do you remember when JoAnne said: “Sue was never about Sue…she was always about other people…”

At CedarCreek, we love sharing stories about how people came to CedarCreek! You will never know how powerful the following question can be: “Will you come to church with me?” Think about how ONE life transformed by Christ can impact his or her family and future generations. That one invitation to Linda changed not only her life, but the lives of so many others!

Who are you going to ask that question to this week? The point of inviting someone isn’t so that we can become a big church. God doesn’t care about big churches, He cares about individually-transformed lives. Life transformation begins with an invitation—your invitation to someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Christ or someone who is not growing his or her faith. Jesus doesn’t want us to just sit inside of our building and hope that people come and find us. Instead, Jesus commands us to go out and get them—asking them to come. The church building isn’t God’s plan—WE are the plan and it’s time for us to GO OUT and get into action.

IN THIS WEEK’S STUDY WE ARE GOING TO FOCUS ON THE IMPACT OF PERSONALLY INVITING PEOPLE TO CHURCH.

Monday — When did Jesus find you?
Big Point: Once we too were lost, but someone shared the gospel with us and now we are found.

In a survey conducted by the Southern Baptist Convention and reported on in USA Today, 63% of the over 15,000 surveyed would be somewhat or very willing to “receive information” about Jesus in a “personal conversation with a family member,” or with a friend or neighbor from the church (56%).

How did you come to CedarCreek? We asked this question on Facebook last week and we’ve included some of the responses in this week’s LivingItOut study:

“We have family that go to the Creek. And, our neighbor’s brother is on staff at Perrysburg. We tried it, and now Perrysburg (Campus) is where we call home.” –Annette Sibberson-Pierce

“A friend invited me after telling me that it wasn’t about dressing up, had recent music, and more focused about knowing Jesus. I was curious. I went and that was in 2004. I was baptized in May 2007. Greatest invite of my life for sure!” —Jessica Fuller

READ…What does the Bible say?
Luke 15:4-10 (New International Version)
4”Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. 8“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

THINK…Find the answers
In the parable of the Lost Sheep, who do the “sheep” represent? Likewise, in the parable of the Lost Coin, who do the “coin” represent?

Notice how the shepherd and the woman are proactive in going and finding that which was lost. What is the point that Jesus is trying to make when it comes to the importance of taking the gospel message out to those who are lost?

“These two parables reveal God as a Searching Father, looking for the lost, actively seeking them, and rejoicing when they are found. An essential part of God’s character is about extending mercy to the undeserving — not only those who happen to stumble up it, but an active program of seeking out the hurting and oppressed, the blind and the imprisoned. That is the message of the cross, the message of active love.” -from www.jesuswalk.com

LIVE…What will you do now?
How we view these parables has a lot to do with how we view the church’s mission. Is our job to take care of the needs of the righteous who are gathered into our congregations? Certainly, no doubt about it. But what about the lost who seldom attend?

Why is it more effective to go out and invite people to church rather than wait inside of church for those who are lost to hopefully show up?

Who are you going to invite to CedarCreek? List the names of 3 people below:
1.
2.
3.
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?
When praying today, pray specifically for friends, family, and coworkers you can share the love of Jesus with. Ask God to give you the courage to invite them to CedarCreek Church this weekend.

DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Jeremiah 47-52
Chapter 47: Philistia was located next to Judah and the Philistines had been longtime foes of the Israelites. Jeremiah wasn’t the first prophet to speak against the Philistines. Even though evil seems to prevail, we must always remember that God will eventual apply His righteous justice (sometimes punishment) to those who live apart from His ways.
Chapter 48: The Moabites were the result of an incestuous union between a drunken Lot and his daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). The Moabites were known for idol worship. Their main god was named Chemosh and child sacrifice was an important part of his worship. God condemned Moab for its pride. Moab was eventually conquered by Babylon and disappeared as a nation.
Chapter 49: Like the Moabites, the Ammonites were as the result of an incestuous union between Lot and another daughter. The Ammonites were also enemies of the Israelites and they worshipped an idol named Molech and sacrificed children. 49:38— “I will set my throne…” a reference to God’s throne symbolizes God’s judgment and sovereignty.
Chapter 50: The Babylonian empire has been portrayed in movies and literature as a nearly invincible force. God used the evil Babylonians to punish Israel for her disobedience and then, God would destroy Babylon for her willful disobedience in 539 B.C. by the Medo-Persians (see Daniel 5:30-31)
Chapter 51: This chapter is the last of Jeremiah’s messages. He is discussing the time of reckoning for Babylon, which seemed to be getting away with murder. When it was time for Babylon’s final fall, it was completely destroyed.
Chapter 52: This chapter provides great detail about Jerusalem’s destruction. Perhaps you remember reading about how the Temple was built in 1 Kings 7, which makes it so heartbreaking to read about it’s destruction in this chapter.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 7.29.11

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FRIDAY — Committed to the Cause of Christ
Big Point: Dedicating your life to a cause greater than yourself that has Christ at the center of your commitment can provide a great sense of accomplishment today that will have lasting significance long after we leave this earth.

This week we reviewed Jeremiah’s life and what it took for him to become the poster boy of perseverance for God. Jeremiah had a heart for God along with a deep confidence in Him. Some of us may not be completely rock solid in both those departments just yet, but God can fix that—IF we are willing to be committed to the cause of Christ. First we must be willing to take a step, make a move, take a stand of faith for Him. You don’t have to quit your job or sacrifice your family or all of your free time to be committed.

In the book “Half Time,” Bob Buford describes many ways we can change our lives in order to live a life of significance. He challenges readers to “multiply all that God has given them, and in the process, give it back.”

READ…What does the Bible say?
Jeremiah 1:10 (New Living Translation)
Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.”

Jeremiah 20:9 (NLT)
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!

CHALLENGE…You’re up for it, right?
Consider CedarCreek‘s mission: to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ. Can you get any more committed to the cause of Christ? If you are struggling on how to commit to the cause of Christ, try this for starters:

  • Become a Missional Member: This is the highest level of commitment at CedarCreek church. Pick up a packet at the Welcome Center or go online.
  • Serve at CedarCreek: Test-Drive—sign up to serve in an area one time and see if you fit. If you don‘t fit in one area, perhaps you‘ll fit in another.
  • Invite someone to church: Telling others about Christ is as easy as handing out an invite card. Big Push is coming up in August, so be thinking of who you will invite.

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to move you out of your comfort zone so you can dedicate yourself to the mission of Christ. Ask Him to direct you on what step you should take today!

Weekend Reminders: Check out www.cedarcreek.tv for more details.

  • The BIG PUSH is quickly approaching—August 6th/7th! This is the time we pull out ALL the stops, so WHO are YOU going to PRAY for and INVITE?
  • Financial Peace University registration is OPEN! Our popular financial class by well-known author and top-rated television host Dave Ramsey is back!
  • Are you single? We’ve got a new Andy Stanley DVD-based seminar for single adults titled “The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating.”
  • Truth Project starts in September! A 13-week series designed to help you establish a solid biblical worldview. A top-notch series that will challenge you!

Homepointe Family Activity
Big Point: Like Jeremiah, we need perseverance to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.
Read: Lamentations 3:18-25; Galatians 6:9.
Activity: Sink or Swim? Materials: Clear glass bowl with water, modeling clay
1. Roll clay into four balls, three of them small and one a little larger.
2. Drop each small one into the water and watch them sink.
3. Explain that each ball represents a person that feels discouraged or frustrated by life’s difficulties. We all feel like that at times. Just like the clay balls, you may want to give up and sink into a sad state of despair.
4. Next, take the larger clay ball and start reshaping it to form the shape of a simple canoe. Talk about how this canoe is like Jesus—that God sent Jesus to carry those who will trust him and not give up when faced with a problem. They are choosing to have faith, a positive attitude and to show perseverance. Discuss how it’s possible to work through the challenges and achieve your goal by “reshaping” your attitude and putting your faith in God.
5. Put the “boat” in the water and watch it float. Now take each small ball and put them inside the “boat”. Ask what can happen when a person has a positive attitude, puts their faith in Jesus (our “boat”), and decides to persevere. They not only achieve their goal, but are a positive role model for others.
Lesson: Christ-followers today can also endure challenging situations by remembering God’s promises and goodness. We can also find hope in knowing that whatever challenging circumstance God takes us through, God has decisively acted to deal with the evil of this world in His Son, Jesus Christ. We can also find hope in knowing that someday God will end the troubles of this world and will “create a new heaven and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:18-24). However, like the people of Judah, we must wait (cf. II Peter 3:11-14)!
Pray: Ask God to help grow your faith so that you can experience His perfect plan for your life and persevere—especially in the tough times.

Living It Out: Scripture Memory July 2011
5 Live wisely among those who are not believers,
and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive
so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Colossians 4:5-6 (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.

RESOURCES:
The Bible
Old Testament Commentary compiled by: Jamey Koralewski
Homepointe Family Activity: Jamey Koralewski

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Amber McCool
Jim Miller
Diana Patton

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Jeremiah 42-46
Ch 42: God’s answer to the inquiry of the people and Jeremiah concerning the calamities recently befallen and His charge to the people in the land. In very difficult circumstances, our eyes must be upon God for direction, and our hearts must be intent on obeying His voice. It’s folly to quit the place where God has put us merely because we have met with trouble in it. The difficulty we think to escape by disobeying God’s voice we will inevitably run ourselves into.
Ch 43: It’s common for unhumbled men who persist in sin to represent those who speak God’s word as deceivers with designs for themselves. However, this doesn’t change the Word of God, and those who think to better themselves by going contrary to the Scriptures will come to ruin.
Ch 44: God’s past dealings with sinful people should be a warning to us of the danger of sin and the fatal consequences of it. To those who are unrepentant sinners, God will be found an unyielding Judge. In a contest between God’s Word and man’s word, God’s Word will be sure to stand.
Ch 45: God takes notice of the worries and unhappiness of His people and is displeased with them. To seek great things for ourselves when the public is in danger is unbecoming. We should count even the preservation of our lives in such times a great mercy, and continue faithful to our service.
Ch 46: Prophecies against Egypt. When men think to magnify themselves by pushing on unrighteous enterprises, let them expect that God will sooner or later glorify Himself by blasting them and making an end of them, for He has numberless hosts at His command. vv27-28: Looks forward to the judgments of the nations at the coming of Christ (Matt 25:42) after Armageddon, (Rev 16:14), and the deliverance of Israel.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 7.28.11

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THURSDAY— Faith Fosters Confidence & Perseverance
Big Point: While Jeremiah lacked self-confidence, his faith in God—His Word and promises—gave him all the confidence and perseverance he needed to fulfill his purpose.

Perhaps you’ve heard the tried and true hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” sung by many churches throughout the years. That song was written by Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) who had a difficult early adult life. His health was so fragile that there were periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work. Between bouts of illness he would have to push himself to put in extra hours at various jobs in order to make ends meet.

After coming to Christ at age 27, Thomas found great comfort in the Scriptures, in the fact that God was faithful to be his strength in time of illness and weakness, and to provide for all his needs. Lamentations 3:22-23 was one of his favorite scriptures: “22The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

While away from home on a mission’s trip, Thomas often wrote to one of his good friends, William Runyan, a relatively unknown musician. Several poems were exchanged in these letters. Runyan found one of Thomas’ poems so moving that he decided to compose a musical score to accompany the lyrics. As a result, the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was published in 1923.

It sounds like Thomas and Jeremiah shared a similar story—both led lives full of challenges. Yet, just as Jeremiah did, Thomas persevered, relying on his strong faith in God’s Word and His promises. As a result, we can all sing that hymn as a reminder of God’s Great Faithfulness.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Lamentations 3:18-25 (New Living Translation)
18I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” 19The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. 20I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” 25The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.

Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing IF we don’t give up.

THINK…Find the answers
Lamentations 3:20 records Jeremiah saying that he would “never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss”. However, he dared to do what, in verse 21?

What hope do we have, as promised in verse 23, that will happen each morning we arise?

Who is our inheritance?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Trials, tribulation, stress, heartache… it seems God often wants to use us during those times when we are completely broken. Jeremiah suffered greatly, but he never forgot the faithful love of God. He always had that to rely on! How often do you find yourself praising God for how faithful He is?

And, when do you find yourself most likely to praise Him for His faithfulness?

We often seem to heap issue after issue upon each other, blinding us from seeing all the glory and goodness God has given us. As a result, we lack confidence, and end up getting down and depressed about where we are in our lives. Imagine turning that “downward attitude” upward— focusing on what mercies you see God providing you every single day. When we begin to focus on our basic needs, we realize that most of us have them met—day in and day out. Take the time throughout your day today to focus on God‟s mercies and what you need to function this day and consciously praise Him for his faithfulness.

Perhaps you can jot down some mercies that God has given you right off the top of your head; list them here for a jump start.
1.
2.
3.
4.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Great is Thy faithfulness,
O God my Father,
There is no shadow
of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions,
they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning
new mercies I see.
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!
-Thomas O. Chisolm
(Verse 1 & Chorus)

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you recognize Him in your every single day—to see the mercies that He provides. Ask Him to increase your faith and give you confidence in Him, and Him alone, so that you too can persevere.

Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Jeremiah 37-41
Ch 37: It’s no new thing for those who’ve faithfully declared the Word of God and served the Lord, to be presented as enemies, imprisoned and persecuted. When God’s servants are accused, they may boldly deny the charge, commit their cause to Him who judges righteously, and continue to contend for the faith.
Ch 38: God’s faithful ministers, who show the lost what enemies they are to themselves, are often looked upon as enemies of the country, and are wickedly abused. They may, however, commit the keeping of their spirits to God, who can even raise up friends for them in their distress (vv8-9), if it be for His glory.
Ch 39: Final captivity of Judah in accordance with the prophets. Truly there is a God who judges the earth in this life, as well as in the next. When sin has provoked Him to withdraw His protection, the greatest city is helpless (the false prophets fell by those judgments which they said would never come; while the true prophet Jeremiah escaped those judgments which he maintained would come).
Ch 40: Sooner or later God’s true prophets will be justified before their persecutors— who will be made to understand that their sin is the cause of all their misery. vv2-3: This pagan captain understood the judgment of God better than the leaders of Judah. vv9-12: God in His wrath still remembers mercy and prospers a remnant—after a further trial of their obedience.
Ch 41: God sometimes permits bloody work to be done in order to a) complete the ruin of an unhumbled people, and 2) to fill up of the measure of their judgments.