Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 7.6.11

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WEDNESDAY— How can we hear God speaking?
Big Point: People have a tendency to listen only to what they want to hear.

Soccer star Keith Downing shared the following story about his Uncle Dick… Apparently Uncle Dick noticed that every time he ate pork chitlins (his favorite food), his foot pained him immensely that evening. His family physician confirmed his suspicion of pork-induced gout. When Uncle Dick returned home from the doctor’s office, his wife asked him how the appointment had gone. Uncle Dick plopped off his shoes and replied, “The doctor said I’m going to have gout about three times a week.” The lesson: people have a tendency to listen only to what they want to hear. -from, “Hearing God When He Speaks”

Yesterday we looked at God speaking through His Word, Wisdom, and Authority. Today, we will see how God speaks through Personal Experience, the Holy Spirit, and Godly Counsel.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Samuel 3:3-4, 9-10 (New Living Translation)
3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. 4 Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening,’” So Samuel went back to bed. 10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

James 4:8 (New Living Translation)
8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

THINK…Find the answers
Read 1 Samuel 3:3-4. Where was Samuel when he heard God speaking to him? How did his location help Samuel hear God?

In 1 Samuel 3:9-10, Eli gave the confused Samuel advice on what to do when he heard God’s voice again: in order to hear God, he must give God permission to speak. How did this help Samuel hear God?

According to James 4:8, what hinders our ability to hear God?

LIVE…What will you do now?
There are lots of passages in the Bible where God admonishes his people to listen to him. Why is it so important to God that we listen to Him? God wants us to hear his voice—it’s the only way we’ll receive all the blessings He wants to give us.

Describe some experiences in your life when you have been blessed as a result of listening to God’s leadings.

When it comes to hearing God, proximity is important. We can’t expect to hear from God if we don’t remain close to Him. That’s why things like attending church and doing life with other Christians in a Life Group are important. List two or three Christ-followers you can turn to for godly counsel.

We have looked at six ways that God speaks into our lives. Why it is important for us to consider all of the ways when contemplating a decision versus just relying on one or two areas of input?

PRAY… What do you want me to know and do?
Today, thank God for His grace in wanting to bless you. Ask Him to help you slow down and remain close to Him so you can listen and be guided by Him in your life.

20:1—In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul instructs believers to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. When we overindulge in alcohol, we are unable to live by the Spirit because we are under the influence of alcohol. Drinking alcohol is a liberty. However, every believer must determine whether or not to indulge in this liberty.
20:2—This verse is a parallel to Proverbs 19:12. Both verses discuss what happens to subjects who do not live in obedience to the king’s rules.
20:6—This verse is a parallel to Proverbs 18:24.
20:12—Hearing God speak into our lives is a blessing.
20:13—”If you love sleep” doesn’t mean that it is wrong to get enough rest; rather it describes a person who is lazy and doesn’t get up and work.
20:15—”wise words” This theme is repeated numerous times in Proverbs.
20:22—Are you secretly hoping that someone will “get theirs” for wronging you? There are numerous verses in both the Old and New Testament that remind us that God will deal with those who treat us unjustly.
20:24—We are often confused by the events around us. Some things we will never understand until later when we look back and see how God was working. This proverb counsels us not to worry if we don’t understand everything as it happens.
21:2—This verse should remind you of Psalm 139:23—Ben talked about this verse in his message on Samuel.
21:6—Perhaps someone should have mentioned this verse to Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff…
21:12—God knows what’s happening behind closed doors even though your manicured front lawn and shiny cars fool your neighbors and friends.
21:13—This verse reflects Jesus’ illustration in Matthew 25:35-45.
21:20—Saving for the future isn’t unbiblical—in fact, God admonishes us to prepare for future financial obligations so that we won’t end up incurring unnecessary debt. Those who are unable to control their spending will end up broke.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 7.5.11

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TUESDAY: How does God speak?
Big Point: Listening to hear God speak is key in living a fulfilling Christian life.

In his recent book, The Power of a Whisper, Bill Hybels casts a vision for what life on earth can look like when God’s followers turn an ear toward heaven— discerning whispers that arbitrate key decisions, nudges that rescue from dark nights of the soul, promptings that spur growth, urgings from the lips of another person and inspiration that opens glazed-over eyes to the plight of injustice and poverty in our world.

Hybels incites passion in Christ-followers’ hearts for being wide open to the power of a whisper from God, offers practical filters for discerning whether the whisper you heard is from heaven and issues the challenge to get gutsier about actually doing what God is prompting you to do.

There are six ways God speaks to us. Today we will look at three of those ways: God’s Word, wisdom and authority. Tomorrow, we will look at the remaining three vehicles God uses to speak to us.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Psalm 119:105 (New International Version)
105Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

James 1:5 (New Living Translation)
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Romans 13:1 (New Living Translation)
1Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

THINK…Find the answers
God’s Word to us is the Bible, a complete set of instructions directly from God. What does Psalm 119:105 mean by “lamp for my feet”? How about “a light for my path”?

According to James 1:5, where should we start our quest for wisdom? Will we be penalized for asking for wisdom?

Read Romans 13:1. Why does God care whether we listen to those in authority? How does God speak to us through authority figures?

To read more about discerning whether a whisper is truly from God, turn to the Weekly Wrap-Up on Friday for a list of Bill Hybels’ Five Filters to Test a Whisper.

LIVE…What will you do now?
There are many different ways to hear God speaking to us. What are some ways that you have experienced God speaking into your life? How did you know God was speaking?

Today, we examined three ways that God speaks to us. Do you need to improve in any of those areas?

One of the ways that CedarCreek helps Christ-followers learn to hear from God is to encouraging the memorization of scripture each month. Turn to the last page of this study and write out the new July Memory Verse below:

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
One of the most assuring things in the Christian life is the sense that God is speaking to us. Today you have the opportunity to reflect on the times in life when you were certain God was speaking into your life. If it’s been a long time since God has spoken into your life ask God to reveal the reasons why He seems to be silent.

19:2—How often do we over-rationalize the reasons to do something we really, really want to do? This verse warns us to not rush important decisions that require careful evaluation as to whether or not God is leading us in a particular direction.
19:4—Did you know that the average lottery winner is broke within five years of winning? Former winners reported that they couldn’t say “no” to their sudden “new” friends or long-lost family members asking for money.
19:8—This verse doesn’t condone selfish or self-centered behavior. However, we are instructed to love and care for ourselves in a manner that honors the God that created us. This includes caring for ourselves spiritually and physically.
19:13—Unfortunately, many of us experience the tragedy of this verse first hand.
19:18—Parents are admonished to take great care in training their young children while those children are still moldable. Lenient parents do not realize that untrained children will not only be a burden to the parents, but society as well.
19:21—During this weekend’s message, we discussed a question Christians like to ask: “What is God’s will for my life?” What have you learned about God’s will and what He desires for your life? Are you willing to conform your desires to God’s purposes?

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 7.4.11

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Series: Vintage Faith

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, the young man entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.

The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, he stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was happening. They muttered amongst themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. Surely the young man went into the office by mistake and would be disqualified. Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, them come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”

This past weekend Ben talked about Samuel and his experience with listening to the still, small voice of God. John 8:47 says, “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” This week the Living It Out daily study will help you, if you profess to be following Jesus Christ, become more aware of the times when God is speaking to you. If you have yet to become a Christ-follower, then you’ll be more aware of how you can become one and start to hear His voice.

We live in a world that is full of busyness and clatter, like the Morse Code office. People are distracted and unable to hear the still, small voice of God as He speaks to them. What about you? Are you tuned in to God’s voice? Do you hear God when He speaks to you? Are you listening?
-portions adapted from, Holy Headphones


MONDAY — Hearing from God
Big Point: God’s will is simpler than we tend to make it.

Here is an observation from Bill Hybels, author of the book, The Power of a Whisper: “The message that the Lord then spoke to young Samuel was a prophetic promise that would radically impact an entire nation. But the content of that message is not what struck me as I sat in my wooden grade-school desk. What struck me was the fact that the content got conveyed through the ears and lips of a little boy!”

Young Samuel was asleep in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God when he heard someone calling him. Three times Samuel went to Eli and asked if Eli was calling him. After repeatedly telling Samuel to “Go back to bed,” Eli finally realized it was God who was calling Samuel. Eli told Samuel the next time he heard someone calling his name to tell God he was listening. When God spoke again, Samuel responded.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Timothy 4:12 (New International Version)
12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Romans 8:28 (New International Version)
28And 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.

Matthew 28:19-20 (New International Version)
19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

THINK…Find the answers
Throughout the Bible, God uses unusual people to deliver important messages. God chose Mary to give birth to His Son, Jesus. God used a shepherd boy named David to encourage the Israelites and slay a giant and women, to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. No one is too insignificant to be used by God!

In 1 Timothy, what encouragement does God give young people? What instructions?

Matthew 28:19-20 is referred to as The Great Commission, in which Jesus gave final instructions to his followers after His resurrection. What did Jesus call all Christfollowers to do?

LIVE…What will you do now?
When you read Matthew 28:19-20, what information do you gather that helps you identify God’s will for your life (if you consider yourself a Christ-follower)?

What situation is challenging your faith these days? Is there something you keep asking God about over and over again because it seems that He hasn’t provided an answer? What is it?

Re-read Romans 8:28. If you really trust that your heavenly Father loves you and that He is powerful and He is a provider, then stop freaking out! You are going to get where God wants you to go. What verses testify to God’s provision for you? (You might need to get out your Bible, but finding those verses is worth it!)

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
In the box to the right is a poem that Bill Hybels memorized as a little boy. This child’s prayer can be your inspiration as you pray today that God will give you ears like Samuel to be open and hear His word.

17:3—It takes intense heat to purify gold and silver. In the same manner, Christians have the potential to experience tremendous spiritual growth while enduring intense challenges.
17:5—Making fun of those who are less fortunate is offensive to God because we are called to love and care for those who lack the ability to provide for themselves.
17:8— “lucky charm” The Bible does not condone bribery, but the writer does observe that bribery is effective in getting what one wants.
17:9—Is there someone that you need to forgive today for offending you? Remember, forgiveness is choosing to let go of the offense, but it isn’t the same as reconciliation (which may or may not be possible).
17:14—If we followed the counsel of this verse, our marriages and interactions with our children and parents would improve immediately.
17:22—There is such potential for us to be a blessing when we are known for greeting others with a smile on our face.
18:4—Even though we cannot know the future, when we have God’s wisdom planted within our hearts, we are able to apply it to every situation in life.
18:6—This verse evokes a question: “How often do you get into arguments with others?” If you are always getting into disagreements with others, perhaps you need to consider the words that you use.
18:8—Everyone likes to hear the “dirt” about others. However, if we refrain from hearing the first tidbit, it’s easier to ignore the rest.
18:21—This verse reflects the theme of James 3.
18:24—King Solomon may not have been familiar with the term “frenemy.” Are you known as a friend that blesses or breaks down friendships?

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.10.11

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FRIDAY — Reflection

We’re at the end of this week’s LIO and so it’s time to reflect on the things that you’ve experienced during this week’s study.

• As you look back on this week’s study, what ideas/concepts were you challenged to think about the most?

• Reflect on the various verses that you read this week. Which verse was the most meaningful for you? Why? How has this verse impacted you?

• On Tuesday, we looked at the “Bystander Effect” and how people rarely break away from a group to take action. Yet, when someone does get involved, others usually follow. Have you identified an environment in your life where you need to break away from the crowd and stand up for your faith? How can you have courageous faith and display it in a way that honors God and demonstrates humility toward others?

• Were you able to think of different ways for you to live out your faith more courageously? Did you act on any of them? If so, how did it go?

• Dave Ramsey’s Life.Money.Hope – June 14 and 15.—Did you barely make it through the first half of the year financially? Do you want to improve your financial outlook for the second half of the year? In this two-day seminar, you will watch a three-part series from popular author, financial expert and top-rate television host Dave Ramsey. This seminar runs simultaneously with KidVille’s Summer Blast. Cost for Life.Money.Hope is $10 and includes book and course materials.
• Leadership Summit—Don’t forget to register for this year’s event! Special CedarCreek attendee discount rate still applies, but don’t delay! To register, go to for more information or to register.
• Annual Business Meeting—Want to hear about our annual budget or information about the plans for our church over the next year? CedarCreek’s annual business meeting is Sunday June 26 at 5pm at the Perrysburg Campus.

HomePointe Family Activity Section
Big Point: We are courageous and stand up for what we believe, it makes it easier for others to be courageous and stand up for what they believe as well.
Lesson: There are lots of people in our society who courageously stand up for what they believe. It’s always a great idea to talk as a family about what makes a person courageous, whether it was a courageous action or taking a stand for faith. The best time to have these conversations are when we hear any story of a courageous person or perhaps, taking the time to read a biography of someone who was bold and courageous enough to stand alone for what he or she believed in.
Activity: Answer the following questions:
1. Who is the most courageous person you know personally? Why did you pick that person?
2. What is the bravest or most courageous thing you have ever done? What did you learn about yourself when you chose to be courageous?
3. This week, we learned about Caleb and Joshua and how they courageous stood up for God when the Israelites were against them. In what ways can you let others know that you stand for God?
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the example of Caleb and Joshua. We pray that we will always be courageous and brave for You. We know that when we are courageous, others will be inspired to be courageous, too.

Living It Out: Scripture Memory JUNE 2011
Joshua 24:15 (New Living Translation)
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

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, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

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Daily Bible Reading Commentary compiled by Rick Kinney
HomePointe Family Activity by Chantele Henry

This week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study written by:
Barb Roose
Kate Roose
Sam Roose

1:1 “after the death of Joshua…” Descriptions of the book’s setting in Judges 1 and 2 vary between times after Joshua’s death and flashbacks summarizing conditions while he was alive.
1:2 “Judah is to go…” The tribe received God’s first go-ahead to push for a more thorough conquest of its territory. The reason probably rested in God’s choice that Judah be the leader among the tribes. 1:6 “cut off his thumbs and big toes…” Removing the king’s thumbs and big toes rendered him unable to use a weapon and unstable on the battlefield. This made him unable to fight in the future.
2:1 “I will never break my covenant with you…” God would be faithful until the end, but the people would forfeit blessing for trouble, due to their disobedience.
2:12 “they followed other gods…” Idol worship, such as the golden calf in the wilderness, flared up again. Many different gods from the area’s inhabitants entered the life of the Israelites.
2:14 “In His anger against Israel…” Calamities designed as chastisement brought discipline intended to lead the people to repentance.
2:16 “the Lord raised up judges…” A judge, or deliverer, was distinct from a judge in the English world today. Such a leader guided military expeditions against foes. There was no succession or national rule. They were local deliverers, lifted up to leadership by God when the deplorable conditions of Israel in the region around them prompted God to rescue the people.
3:10 “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him…” Certain judges were expressly said to have the Spirit of the Lord come upon them. HomePointe

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.9.11

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THURSDAY—What is God saying to you?
Big Point: God is speaking to each one of us.

If you’ve been around CedarCreek for awhile, you’ve heard us talk about Bill Hybel’s book, The Power of a Whisper. We had the opportunity to hear Bill talk about his new book at our 15th anniversary celebration last October at the Huntington Center. The subtitle of The Power of a Whisper is “Hearing God. Having the guts to respond.”

Isn’t that so true? When we hear God speak into our lives, it usually means that we have to abandon our agenda and our plans for His plans. Furthermore, God’s plans usually require us to walk by faith, meaning that we have to leave the land of what we can predict and expect and step into the open and trust God’s character and faithfulness for our lives.

We spent the week talking about courageous faith, but as we enter into the final portion of this week’s study, we have to remember that it’s one thing to have courage, but it is another thing to have a courage that is grounded in faith and trust in God.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Galatians 5:25 (New Living Translation)
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Luke 9:23 (New Living Translation)
23 Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

THINK…Find the answers
Read Galatians 5:25. What does it mean for us to follow the Spirit’s leadings?

In Luke 9:23, Jesus challenges his disciples to turn away from their established lives and follow him into the unknown. What kind of courage did it take for the new disciples to walk away from their families and lifestyles to follow Jesus?

From Bill Hybel’s book, The Power of a Whisper
“When people hear from heaven, they are rarely the same again. When the sovereign God chooses to communicate with someone— whether eight, eighteen or eighty years old— that person’s world is rocked.
Without a hint of exaggeration, I can boldly declare that God’s low-volume whispers have saved me from a life of sure boredom and self-destruction. They have redirected my path, rescued me from temptation and reenergized me during some of my deepest moments of despair. They inspire me to live my life at what boaters call “wide-open throttle”— full on!”

LIVE…What will you do now?
Usually, a “whisper” or leading from God is something that exceeds our ability to do on our own. While we’ve spent the week talking about having the courage to stand for our faith, we should also think about new roads that God might be calling us to courageously explore in order to build His kingdom and our faith.

While we’ve asked this question a few times in the last few months, it seems appropriate to ask it again: What has God been “whispering” about in your life lately?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Here’s an opportunity for you to write out a prayer to God about the things that you’ve been thinking about this week when it comes to the topic of living out your faith courageously. What do you think you need to do differently as a result of what you’ve studied so far this week? Commit those plans to God in prayer:

39:32 “so all the work…was completed.” Finally, the moment arrived when the different tasks assigned to various artisans were all completed, and the result was ready for formal presentation to Israel’s leader.
39:43 “then Moses inspected the work…” Fittingly enough, the one who had been with God on the mount and had passed on to the people the blueprints for everything connected with the Lord’s tabernacle personally inspected the work and confirmed its successful completion. “And Moses blessed them.” By this act, Moses set his final and formal seal of approval on the outcome of their earnestness and diligence, and expressed his prayer-wish that good would result to them from their God.
40:1-33 Finally, the time arrived for the tabernacle to be erected with the Holy of Holies and it’s accompanying Holy Place to the west, and the courtyard entrance to the east. In terms of pagan religions and their worship of the sun god, some significance might be seen in the high priest worshipping God with his back to the rising sun. All who entered the courtyard also turned their backs to the rising sun as they came in to sacrifice and worship.
40:17 The tabernacle was completed almost one year after the Exodus from Egypt. The people were at the foot of Mt. Sinai at that time.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.8.11

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WEDNESDAY—Courage comes when we are courageous!
Big Point: We don’t need to pray for courage. We just need to be courageous and then, we will have courage!

Spc. Ross McGinnis was traveling in a Humvee convoy in Northeast Baghdad. His convoy’s mission was to patrol the streets as well as find a place to put a 250-kilowatt generator that would provide electricity for over 100 homes.

While stopped on the street, an insurgent dropped a grenade from a rooftop above Spc. McGinnis’ Humvee, which was last in the convoy. McGinnis was manning the vehicle’s machine gun. He yelled “grenade” and prepared to jump out of the truck according to those in his vehicle.

However, Spc. McGinnis realized that no one else would be able to get out of their positions soon enough to escape without injury or death, so instead of saving his own life, McGinnis threw his body against the grenade and smothered the explosive with his body. The grenade exploded as soon as McGinnis covered his body with it, killing him instantly. The others in the vehicle survived the explosion.

John 15:13 says that the greatest love we can have for others is when we lay down our lives for them. It takes courage to put someone else’s needs above our own because we are naturally wired to seek fulfillment of our own desires and wishes. Courage doesn’t come naturally. It only comes when we act courageously.

READ…What does the Bible say?
1 Corinthians 16:13 (New Living Translation)
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

Psalm 27:14 (New Living Translation)
14Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Psalm 31:24 (New Living Translation)
24 So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!

Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

THINK…Find the answers
In 1 Corinthians 16:13, the Apostle Paul is summing up principles for powerful living for the oft-wayward Corinthian church. Look at each of Paul’s short admonitions. How are they related with each other?

LIVE…What will you do now?
We all want to think that we could be as courageous as Spc. Ross McGinnis. However, we never know if we are courageous until the moment that courage is needed arises. At that moment, we don’t have a lot of time to decide if we are going to be courageous—we either act with courage, or we don’t.

What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? Why did you decide to act? How did you feel once the situation was over and you could reflect on your actions?

When is the last time you took a stand for your faith? (Ex: inviting someone to church, sharing your faith, standing up for injustice, tithing, giving up a sinful pattern of behavior) Why did you feel compelled to act or speak? How did that act of courage change you?

If you haven’t taken a stand recently, could there be an opportunity for you to try again? If so, what would you do?

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
We could pray for God to give us opportunities to be courageous, however, those opportunities are all around us. We just have to pray and ask God for a fresh perspective on the new ways He wants us to live out our faith with bold courage.

33:7 “the tabernacle of meeting…” In the time prior to the construction of the tabernacle, Moses’ tent became the special meeting place for Moses to talk intimately with God.
33:12-17 Again, Moses entered earnestly and confidently into the role of intercessor before God for the nation whom he again referred to as “Your people.” Moses clearly understood that without God’s presence they would not be a people set apart from other nations.
34:1 “cut two tablets of stone…” Renewal of the covenant meant replacement of the broken, original tablets on which God had personally written the Ten Commandments.
34:29-35 The first time on the mount, unlike the second, had not left Moses with a face which was reflecting some radiance associated with being in the presence of the Lord for an extended period of time.
35:1- 40:38 In this section, the Israelites constructed the tabernacle as God so prescribed in chapters 25-31.
35:30- 36:1 The Lord also gave the two named artisans skill in teaching their trades. This substantiates that they were, most probably, the supervisors or leaders of the construction teams.
26:2-7 The people, stubborn and disobedient at times, nevertheless rose to the occasion and voluntarily brought much more than was needed for the building of the tabernacle.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.7.11

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TUESDAY — Don’t let your “but” get in the way!
Big Point: We cannot let excuses keep us from standing up for our faith.

The “Bystander Effect”
In group situations people do not tend to feel personal responsibility to act. However, whenever one person does decide to take action in a situation, others usually act as well.

In March 1964, Kitty Genovese arrived home in the early hours of the morning and was stabbed repeatedly by an attacker. Her screams were heard by her neighbors, yet no one came to her aid. Kitty’s attacker left, yet came back to savagely stab and sexually assault her until finally killing her with a fatal wound on his third and final separate attack. Yet, not one of Kitty’s neighbors came to her aid until after she was dead.

When the police conducted interviews, 38 individuals admitted to hearing Kitty’s chilling screams for help and they all admit to not coming to her aid. Lots of excuses were given: they feared for their own safety, they worried their English wouldn’t be understood when talking to the police and one heartless person merely said: “I was tired.”

Kitty’s murder sparked new psychological research into what is now called the Genovese Syndrome or “Bystander Effect.” It’s so easy for us to just try to “go with the flow” or maintain status quo in our relationships at home or work. Being an “Undercover Christian” means that we can look like everyone else in the crowd. However, we never know who might be inspired to live out his or her faith just by watching us being courageous enough to live out ours.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Numbers 13:27-28 (New Living Translation)
27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!

Matthew 9:36-38 (New Living Translation)
36 When he (Jesus) 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.”

THINK…Find the answers
Read Numbers 13:27-28. Circle the word “But” in verse 28. What was the attitude in the first part of the verse versus the attitude in the second part of the verse? What were the differences between how Caleb and Joshua reported the situation versus how the other 10 explorers interpreted the situation?

In Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus was traveling to town after town preaching the gospel and pointed out the need for disciples to carry the gospel messages to those who were lost and hurting. Why is it so important to have “workers” who are willing to stand up for their faith and reach out to others? Why does Jesus say there are so few workers?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Whenever we sense God calling us to take a stand for our faith, the word “but” can often get in our way, causing us to delay in being obedient. Choosing to stand with God doesn’t always require a large crowd as a witness, only your resolve to obey. In what area of your spiritual life do you need to follow God more courageously?

Can you think of some steps that would be involved in your decision to follow God with great courage in a particular area of your life? List those steps below:

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Hopefully, you were able to reflect on any “buts” in your life that have kept you from courageously living out your faith. If you are ready, tell God that you are ready and willing to demonstrate courage in that area of your faith. If you aren’t ready, ask God to keep reminding you of His faithfulness until you are ready.

29:20 Daubing blood on the right ear, hand, and big toe symbolically sanctified the ear to hear the Word of God, the hand to do the work of God, and the foot to walk in the way of God.
29:45 “I will dwell…” That He would be their God and they would be His people was one thing; but that He would also dwell with them was a very important reality in the experience of the new nation.
“bronze basin…” The washing of hands and feet was mandatory before engaging in priestly duties. Again, the seriousness of being ceremonially purified is seen in the warning of death if this washing is neglected. Nothing casual was being done in the sanctuary or out in the courtyard.
30:22-33 Nothing was left to chance or to human ingenuity. The ingredients for making the anointing oil were carefully spelled out. Using anything different was totally unacceptable and brought with it the penalty of death.
32:1 “make us gods…” The Israelites, in a time of panic or impatience, succumbed to a pagan worldview. What made it more alarming was the rapidity with which pagan idolatry swept in despite recent, real-life demonstrations of God’s greatness and goodness toward them.
32:4 “a molded calf…” The young bull, which Aaron caused to be fashioned, was a pagan religious symbol of virile power. In worshiping the calf, the Israelites violated the first three commandments.
32:7 “your people…” In alerting Moses to the trouble in the camp, God designated Israel as Moses’ people, a change of possessive pronoun Moses could not have missed. Beforehand, God had acknowledged them as “My people.”
32:19 “broke them…” Moses pictured the nation breaking God’s commandments by actually breaking the tablets on which they were written.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 6.6.11

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Series: Vintage Faith
Joshua & Caleb

If you’ve been doing the CedarCreek Old Testament Daily Bible Reading, you have been reading about the Israelites’ exit from slavery in Egypt in dramatic fashion. Since God’s chosen people had been freed, their next stop was supposed to be The Promised Land—known as a place “flowing with milk and honey.” Now, there wasn’t literally going to be milk and honey all over the ground—that would get kinda sticky and gross. The Promised Land was a place set apart by God for the Israelites to rebuild their lives and their community. However, the Promised Land was already occupied with other inhabitants that had to go before the Israelites could move in.

From the very beginning of the Israelites’ journey, God promised them a land that would be a blessing to them as well as for generations to come. However, God’s promises were forgotten by the majority of the explorers once they became fearful of the inhabitants of the land.

During this weekend’s message, we explored differences between the courageous faith of two of the explorers, Joshua and Caleb, versus the fearful, cowardly response of the other ten explorers.

By definition, courage is doing something difficult, even when we are scared; or courage can be our decision to stand up for something even though we are being pressured to conform or do nothing. Joshua and Caleb might have seen the giants in Canaan, but they decided to believe God’s promise to give them that land. Unfortunately, they were alone in their decision to stand up for God. Can you identify with their situation?

Some of you are courageous enough to attend CedarCreek each week even though no one else in your family will come with you. Perhaps, you are the only person in your office who dares to read a Bible during breaktime or a lunch hour. It’s hard to be courageous when everyone else seems to be against you, but that is the very courage that God calls us to display. However, we don’t have to worry about those who stand in opposition to what we believe because the Bible tells us in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” There is always going to be those who stand in opposition to our faith, but their combined power and influence isn’t enough to move a flea’s wing when compared to the incredible power of God working in us and through us.

In each of our lives we have an opportunity to stand for something at some point in our lives. Being courageous doesn’t mean that we wait until it is easy to act, rather courage is taking a stand and acting when the pressure is most intense.


MONDAY — Vintage Faith=Courageous Faith
Big Point: We cannot develop high quality faith without being courageous.

Courage: Acting even when you are scared; standing up for something even though you are being pressured to do nothing or conform.

On October 21, 2003, a young 13-year girl named Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a violent shark attack off the coast of Hawaii. A talented surfer, Bethany started riding the waves when she was just a toddler and by eight years old, Bethany was competing in surf contests.
During the attack, Bethany was critically injured. She was rushed to the hospital to endure several operations and her left arm had to be amputated. Many people thought Bethany would never surf again.
But, they were wrong. Nineteen months after the shark attack, Bethany won the 2005 NSSA National Surfing Championship and many other awards since then.
A committed Christ-follower, Bethany believes that God is using her story to inspire others and share Christ with them. Her story came to the silver screen earlier this year in the movie, “Soul Surfer.” Bethany’s courage gave her the determination never to give up and she has continued to trust in God and reach for her dreams.

READ…What does the Bible say?
Numbers 14:6-10 (New Living Translation)
6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 10 But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb.

Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

THINK…Find the answers
Numbers 14:6-10 tells the frustration and despair of Joshua and Caleb after the Israelites decided to believe the ten explorers who believed that they would be crushed by the inhabitants of the Promised Land versus trusting that God would give them victory.

In the passage, Caleb and Joshua tried to remind the Israelites of God’s what?

What evidence did Caleb and Joshua have to prove the case for God’s faithfulness? In verse 10 we read about how the entire community decided to turn against Caleb and Joshua. Why do you think they turned against the two men?

LIVE…What will you do now?
Living the Christian life takes tremendous courage! Especially since there are so many influences that woo us away from living out our faith. Can you think of a time when you should have taken a stand for your faith? What happened? What should you have done differently?

Our core beliefs and values are revealed when we are under pressure. While we think that peer-pressure only applies to teenagers, we have to realize that peerpressure is highly influential at any age. When do you sense a great pressure to back off your commitment to live out the Christian life and “go with the flow?”

PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
It’s easy for us to look at the circumstances in our lives and become worried or afraid—yet, God calls us to be courageous because He is on our side. What giants are threatening your life right now? Spend some time reflecting on God’s record of faithfulness in your life and then talk to God about how you are doing when it comes to living out your faith courageously in places where you are tempted not to.

25:2 “an offering…willingly…” Voluntarily and freely the people were given opportunity to contribute to the nation’s worship center from a list of fourteen components and materials needed.
25:9 “tabernacle…” The first five books of the Bible record five different names for the tabernacle: “sanctuary,” denoting a sacred place or set apart; “tent,” denoting a temporary or collapsible dwelling; “tabernacle,” denoting the place of God’s presence; tabernacle of the congregation,” and “tabernacle of the testimony.”
25:16 “the Testimony…” This is the designation for the two tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments.
25:18 “cherubim…” Forged as one piece with the golden cover of the ark were two angelic beings rising up on each end and facing one another.
27:1 “altar…” The largest piece of equipment, also known as the “altar of burnt offerings,” was situated in the courtyard of the tabernacle. Like other pieces of furniture and equipment, it was built to be carried by poles.
27:16 “gate of the court…” The curtain forming the covering for the entrance way into the courtyard was colored differently from that which surrounded the oblong courtyard. Clearly there was only one way to enter this very special place.
27:20 “pure oil of pressed olives…” The clear oil from crushed unripened olives granted almost a smoke-free light.
28:3 “gifted artisans…” This was the first reference in God’s instructions to Moses that certain men would be especially empowered by God to work skillfully on this construction project.