Living the Adventure – The Adventure of You

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Our mission at CedarCreek Church is to introduce people to Jesus and the life-changing adventure with him. Maybe you’ve been around CedarCreek for a while and that sentence has become familiar. Or maybe that word “adventure” catches you off guard—you don’t really associate Jesus and church with adventure.

At CedarCreek, we truly believe the Christian life is meant to be an adventure—that God has a wild, exciting, fulfilling story he wants you to be a part of. So I want to ask:

Are you living that adventure right now? And if you aren’t, why not?

Many of us don’t want to step into God’s adventure because we’re scared. One way to define adventure is “a bold undertaking, usually involving danger and unknown risks, that leads to exciting new experiences.”

That’s right—sometimes the life God calls us into is risky, maybe even dangerous. And to some of us, the risks just don’t seem worth taking. So we run from the life God is calling us into. We tell ourselves God’s adventure isn’t for us. We look for adventures without risks, sometimes trying to live vicariously through someone else’s adventure …

… And we miss the deep, bold, fulfilling, exciting story God wants us to experience.

I truly believe God has a life-changing adventure he wants you to be a part of, but you’ve got to have the faith and courage to take the first step. Some of you aren’t scared, but you’re not really sure how to step into this adventure. If that’s you, start by engaging with the weekend message and reading the LIO. Over the next four weeks, we are going to continue unpacking the adventure God wants to invite you into.

But first, you must decide if you’re ready to step into it. Are you?

Isaiah 43:19
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Questions:
Do you feel you’re living the life-changing adventure God has for you? If you are, what does that look like? If you aren’t, why not? What would stepping into that adventure look like?

Next Steps:
If you’ve never taken that first step in your adventure by accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, now may be your time!

If you’ve been on this adventure for a while, consider sharing your story of what God’s been doing in your life! Go to CedarCreek.tv/adventure for more information on how to share your story with us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I’m so grateful for the adventure you call each of us into. Thank you for the bold, exciting, purpose-filled life you want me to experience! Help me to step into that adventure, overcoming my fear through my trust in you. May your will be done in me and through me. Amen.


This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently the apprentice copywriter at CedarCreek. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.


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Will You Step Into the Light? – Easter Weekend

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I love spring and Easter. It is a time of rebirth, sunshine, and beauty. It fills me with hope and makes me feel courageous and ready to step out of my comfort zone, even though it’s sometimes easier to just get by and hide in the shadows. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for an adventure. Lead Pastor Ben Snyder spoke about Jesus inviting us to step out of the darkness and into the light. The big question is:

“Will you step into the light?”

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone for Jesus?

Several years ago, I was sitting at the Perrysburg campus listening to a sermon about serving. I felt Jesus tapping me on the shoulder and telling me that I needed to sign up to serve during the Sunday service. I will admit I argued a bit with Jesus in my head. “Lord, I already serve. I’m a Group Leader.” Jesus reminded me that I was a Group Leader who wasn’t attending church on a regular basis. (Ouch!)

I felt convicted. After all, serving at the Sunday morning service would help me hold myself accountable to going to church weekly. I went out and signed up. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this changed my life. I met wonderful Christian mentors who challenged me to grow in my faith. I cannot believe the wonderful and amazing adventures I have experienced since I chose to obey God. I am amazed by all the people I encountered who showed me the light and love of Jesus. I pray that Jesus’ light shines through me and makes others feel his amazing love.

I encourage you to be brave, step out of the shadows, and step into the light. For some of you that may mean putting your faith in Jesus for the first time. (If you have just done that, Praise God! I am praying for you.)  For others, you are followers of Jesus but have been in the shadows. Make today the day that you make a commitment to step into light. (Praise God—I am praying for you!) For those who serve, thank you for making a difference and being a light to others.

It was ten years ago that I made the decision to step out of the shadows, and I cannot begin to tell you how much God has blessed me. I have experienced his love, peace, and joy so deeply that it overwhelms me in gratitude. I invite you to step into the light! God has a beautiful plan and adventure for your life.

John 8:12b
“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Joshua 1:9
“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.”

Questions:
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If not, why? If your answer is yes, how are you being a light to others?  What is Jesus calling you to do?

Next Steps:
Commit to attending church during our next series, The Adventures of You. Take GrowthTrack. Join a Group. Read the Bible daily. Pray. Serve.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are the light in this dark world. You are my Savior! I love and adore you. Help me to reflect your light and love to others. I deeply want my life to bring you glory and honor. I trust you and surrender my life to you. Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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The Best is Yet to Come – Easter Weekend

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This week, we reflected on what Jesus has done for us—giving up his life and taking the punishment for OUR sin (THANK YOU, JESUS) and celebrating the resurrection three days later. It’s the resurrection that shows that he is not dead, but alive. He went from darkness to light so that we might go from darkness to light in this life. And not only that, Jesus gives us a promise that the best is yet to come.

Because he rose again, we worship him. Because he rose again, we know that all authority in heaven and on Earth is his. While we have seasons of darkness, because Jesus rose again, we can walk in the light. In John 12, Jesus said, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark” (v. 46). This doesn’t mean that more seasons of darkness will not come our way, but rather, through them, we can put our trust and hope in Jesus. He is a light to our paths. He is a beam of HOPE in the darkness. With Jesus, we’re not forgotten, and we’re never without hope.

This hope that we have in him carries us through this world and is our hope for the future. In John 14:1-3, Jesus says,

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

When we place our trust in Jesus for salvation, we have hope to never walk alone while traversing this Earth. We also have the hope of eternity in heaven with him—God the father. Where there are no more tears, no darkness. Where we will forever be out of the darkness and eternally in the light. He’s preparing that for us right now, and that provides yet another ray of hope for us when we trust in him.

Questions:
Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior? If so, are you trusting him through the dark spots of the journey?

Next Steps:
If you’re walking in a dark season, turn to Jesus. He’s waiting for each one of us turn to him—for the first time or to return to him. He wants to be the light in our darkness. Hold on to the HOPE that we have in him, because of his sacrifice, because he rose again. Invite a friend to walk alongside you for encouragement. Consider joining a summer Group to be connected to others who are walking through struggles and be encouraged by the hope that seeking God together can bring.

Prayer:
Jesus, I continue to thank you for your great sacrifice for me and my sins. Thank you for the hope that I can have in you, not only in this life but also for eternity. God, I long for the day that I am with you in your glorious presence, but in the meantime, help me to trust you along every step of my journey here on Earth. In darkness, be my light. In my despair, be my hope. I love you and trust you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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Come Into the Light – Easter Weekend

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Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder unwrapped for us that without Christ, the true light of the world, we merely live in shadows. We bury our pain, lie about our failing, and/or blame others for them rather than admitting how flawed and unremarkable we are.

I am a sinner saved by faith and grace. Consequently, I accept that the pain, suffering, and death of Jesus Christ was for me. He was sent by the Father to shine a glorious light into the darkness of the unhappy life I was living. Ben talked about how shocking that brightness is after living in shame and hiding in the shadows of self-delusion. I spent my entire life trying to impress and be admired by others, all while hiding shame, self-loathing, and fear.

So what did God do? He used people and situations in my life to open my heart and move me toward him, the only true real light of the world.  Unfortunately, my fear and shame kept me on the throne of my own life instead of Jesus. The result was very similar to this story from Matthew:

Matthew 6:22-23
22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

And it was, oh so dark.

Thankfully, when I gave up “my throne” in 1984, the Holy Spirit kept teaching me to trust God and seek his ways, through every success and failure. God never left my side no matter how far I tried to wander from his path for me.

Even though I belonged to God, I was still full of guilt and shame. I had a secret sin I didn’t want to confess as it would hurt many people. Unfortunately, this kept me living in the shadows long after I was saved.

Thankfully, God kept leading me to himself and his light. It was a self-inflicted, hard journey, but he loves me so much that he didn’t let go of my hand during the 34 years it took to get me out of darkness and shame. Through Celebrate Recovery, I finally confessed out loud in the presence of a trusted friend the darkness that had held me captive. Ever since my declaration, the light of Christ shines ever brighter in my life—every minute of every day—through danger, sickness, fear, pain, and death.

I cannot fathom the pain and horror Jesus endured on my behalf so that I could confess my sin and truly know freedom. I welcome a life devoted to the glory of God and serving others, in every mundane and exciting moment. I urge you, if you haven’t made a decision yet to stop being the captain of your own ship, please, do so. It’s time to begin a life of grace, peace, and real prosperity in Christ.

Questions:
What is your secret sin? How has or does it control your behavior?

Are you ready to let go of your imaginary control?

Next Steps:        
If you are sick of living a lie and hiding in the shadows, tell God you are genuinely sorry and name your sins. Ask for Christ’s sacrifice to be used for your redemption, then seek out one of our loving pastors. They will help lead you to the next step in your new life journey.

Prayer:
My dear, sweet Father God, Creator of all things and lover of my soul. Thank you for your patience and love, and thank you for your forgiveness, if I only ask it of you. Thank you for your salvation and the miraculous life that exists for me and all who turn their journey over to your loving care and guidance. I pray for your help to be brave and humble so that I might commit the rest of my time here on Earth and throughout eternity to you. In Jesus’ powerful, precious name I pray. Amen.


This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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John Reading Plan


You Are a Masterpiece – Easter Weekend

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This past weekend, we listened to Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talk about stepping out of the shadows and into the light. This is not something we do on our own or from our own power. It is only possible because of Jesus’ resurrection. Ben shared that Jesus is the light (John 8:12): “He wants to bring you out of the darkness. He wants to change the way you see your life and the world around you.”

One of the ways that God leads us out of the darkness and into the light is by revealing purpose in our lives. Often our mundane lives echo with the sounds of, “We’re not enough.” We’re not successful enough, not fast enough, or not rich enough. All of this background noise prevents us from finding peace in our lives. Peace you can find only by following Jesus as your true savior. When we step out of the shadows and into the light, Jesus gives us purpose in the mundane. He relates to our ordinary lives on Earth.

I think the story of Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus is a good example of living life from a place of “I am not enough.” While Jesus was being questioned, Peter was not far away. He stood taking in the warmth of  a small fire in the courtyard when someone saw him and pointed out that he was one of Jesus’ followers. Peter denied it, and within a few hours, denied Jesus twice more. After realizing his failure, Peter slipped into the shadows of discouragement.

During our own walks in life, very often a major disappointment or setback blocks us from truly stepping out of the shadows and into the Resurrected Life that God intends for us. Jesus wants to lead us back into the light, though.

In Peter’s case, Jesus restored him by asking three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-17). Peter, who previously denied Jesus three times,  now answers him each time: “Yes, Lord … you know I love you.” By asking these questions, Jesus was reminding Peter what was true. He wanted to change the way Peter thought about himself and his place in the world. Ultimately, Jesus reminded Peter of his purpose.

Despite his denials, Jesus gave Peter a new start. The Lord will do the same for you. No matter what failures are in your past, Jesus can redeem them and give them purpose. No matter what you think of yourself, God wants you to know that you are special. And no matter where you are, you have an opportunity to live out God’s plan for your life.

Ephesians 2:10
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.

2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Questions:
What is God asking you to do in your life? What’s holding you back?

Is there anything (or anyone) in your life that has stopped you from living the Resurrected Life?

What’s stopping you from doing the good things he planned for us long ago?

Next Steps:
Jesus calls us to new life in him, but we don’t have to wait until our resurrection day to begin a new life. He is faithful. Just as Jesus restored Peter, he will restore you too. Step into the light, forgo the shadow of doubt, and spread the news: Jesus is LOVE.

Prayer:
Abba Father, I pray that you keep me from returning to my old life and guide me to a new life in you. Keep me free from the shadows to live in the light, bringing your love and salvation to others around me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


This post was written by the LivingItOut Team.


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John Reading Plan


Lit up! – Easter Weekend

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The first job I held when I came on staff at CedarCreek was LifeGroup Director. We had just begun formalizing a process that would bring support to our group leaders. So one Saturday morning, we gathered all the leaders at our old offices for training on the new process. As I began introducing it, my boss (who will remain nameless) looked at another staff member and whispered, “Wasn’t she in the meeting where we discussed a different plan?”

Talk about being in the dark! (I did get a nice apology and some beautiful tulips out of it!) It is never good for your employees to be in the dark about your vision for the organization. Our lives are much the same. We need to have a clear vision, but that is easier said than done! Maybe we notice something is off, but we really have no idea what it is or how we can fix it. Often, we find ourselves in a shadow realm and sort of get used to the murkiness of a life that lacks clarity of purpose.

This Easter weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder spoke of how Jesus invites us to step out of the darkness and into the light. Jesus talked many times about being the true light (John 1:9), the light that came into the world (John 3:19), the light of the world (John 8:12), the one who came into the world as a light (John 12:46).

Why so many references to light? Because we need light to find our way, and that light is found in Jesus! As Ben said, stepping into the light can be scary. Some of us have grown comfortable in the shadows, convincing ourselves that hiding is the best life has to offer. This shadow world tells us that our lives are mundane and meaningless. That if people only knew what darkness filled your life, they would understand your depression. That things will never get better.

The light that Jesus brings tells us the truth about why he came. He gives us purpose in the mundane! God is much more interested in the process than the product. Do you really think that he needs us to do anything for him? He wants us to walk with him through our days, depending on him, and trusting in his goodness. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s masterpiece, created by him to do the good works that he prepared in advance for us to do! In other words, we can’t mess it up!

Jesus gives us power in the pain of our days. Ben says that we must come to trust that Jesus is stronger than we think! He endured the cross for our sin! Before he was crucified, Jesus endured a flogging that had killed many others. His strength was on display throughout that day of torture, and it is a strength that we can lean on when life becomes too painful for us to bear on our own.

Through the promise and fulfillment of his resurrection, Jesus proved that the best is yet to come. He overcame death, the payment for our sin (Romans 6:23), and brings resurrection life to our lit-up lives! He brings light, his light, to illuminate our paths as we choose to walk with him.

John 8:12b
I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Questions:
How is your vision? Are you viewing your life in the light God offers?

Next Steps:
If you have never invited Jesus to light your way, to lead you in his light, today would be a great day to start! Today could be the spiritual birthday of your new life in Christ! If that is your desire, pray the simple prayer below.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the cross. I accept the sacrifice that Jesus, your Son, made for me. I invite Jesus into my heart to be my Savior and Lord. Thank you that all my sins are gone – past, present, and future. Now you see me in the light of Jesus. From this day forward, I ask you to light my way. Give me a desire to follow you and, please, direct my paths. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


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John Reading Plan


The Debt Is Paid – Letters in Red

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In the last week of our series, Letters in Red, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow spoke to us about getting in touch with our thirst for  what we really desire. In life, it’s not possible to fulfill yourself like you think you can. There is always something you miss—something more—more work, more food, more of that special drink, more indulgence … whatever that looks like for you. We think we want more, but we really don’t know what we want.

In John 4, we read that when Jesus met the woman at the well, he called her out. Jesus knows something that she doesn’t. She is attempting to find fulfillment through things that won’t bring her the lasting fulfillment she desires. As Josh put it, Jesus “suddenly and abruptly put this woman in touch with her thirst.”

Jesus’ goal wasn’t just to point out her error, though. He also gave her the solution to her needs. Jesus revealed to her that she was in need of living water. She thought she needed something to satisfy her physical thirst, not knowing that her soul was in need of the living water that would satisfy her for eternity.

As it is Good Friday, it is a time to really reflect on how Jesus can fulfill your life. He is the living water, the source of life that never runs dry. He is our unending joy, our Savior, the one who paid it all. It might just be the perfect time to realize that Jesus is suddenly and abruptly putting you in touch with your thirst. Jesus knew the extent of our thirst for living water when he died on the cross. He knew that without his drinking from the cup of suffering, we could never fully realize the fulfillment offered through him. Without his fulfillment of paying for our sins on the cross, our debt—our separation from God—would never have been repaired. We would miss the greatest fulfillment a person can have, and that is to know God.

John 19:28-30
28 Jesus knew his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus tasted it, he said “it is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The book of John was originally written in Greek, and the words, “It is finished” is communicated with the greek word, tetelestai. Back in ancient times, tetelestai was written on transaction documents, indicating that the debt was paid. Jesus satisfied his thirst one last time, and so he spoke that final word: “Tetelestai!” The debt is paid; it is complete. Our debt, his payment. Our sins, his life. Our brokenness, his completion.

Without Jesus paying for our debt on the cross, we would miss out on what it really means to be free from sin. What it means to receive true, lasting fulfillment.

Questions:
What are things in your life that are not fulfilling?

Who can you invite to experience the fulfillment of Jesus?

What does it mean to you that Jesus is your Savior?

Next Steps:
Take some time today to reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross. Consider what Jesus went through in order to make a relationship with God possible.

This Sunday, we celebrate Jesus defeating death. Invite someone to join you at church this weekend.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are the Living Water, the well that won’t run dry. You drank from the cup of suffering—you died on the cross, fulfilling the debt that needed to be paid so I could know you. Today, I pause to reflect on all you went through for me and say thanks. Thanks for loving me so much and for giving me grace I don’t deserve. Open my eyes to the opportunities I have to share you with others, and give me the courage to point people to you. This Easter weekend, use me to help others find you and the fulfilling life only you can offer. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Rebecca Roberts, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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RightNow Media
John Reading Plan


Are You Talking to Me? – Letters in Red

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Last week, we closed out our series, Letters in Red. Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow spoke on John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Today, April Fools’ Day, we are looking back to the beginning of the story. It’s no joke that we want to look at a few small facts that tell us a lot about Jesus.

Jesus’ ministry had just started, yet his popularity threatened the Pharisees’ authority, and his message challenged their teachings to the core. However, it wasn’t quite time to confront them openly, so Jesus left Jerusalem and traveled north toward Galilee.

John 4:4-7 
4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”

Josh pointed out that the woman visited the well at noon, and it was hot at noon. No one went for water at noon! And you certainly didn’t get water by yourself! You went with your friends to socialize and stay safe. She went alone at noon anyway—to avoid meeting people who knew of her reputation. That Jesus said, “please give me a drink,” was shocking to her. (Maybe she thought it was April Fools’ Day!)

It was shocking, first, because she was both a woman and a Samaritan. In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people shunned the Samaritans, viewing them as a mixed race who practiced an impure, half-pagan religion. In addition, her reputation in the community wasn’t a good one. She had been married five times and was now living with someone who wasn’t her husband. And finally, it was a surprise that Jesus spoke to her at all in a public place. During that time, no respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did.

Jesus loved her. It didn’t matter what society thought of her or what she thought of herself. Her circumstances didn’t matter. She mattered to God. Nothing she had done up to that point, or could do, would change that or exclude her from accepting the gift of living water that Jesus was offering.

You matter too. Jesus is offering you a gift. The gospel is for every person, regardless of race, social position, or past sins. Like the Samaritan woman, we must be willing to leave our buckets at the well and run to tell his message.

Questions:
Unlike April Fools’ Day, this is no joke—Jesus loves you! What are you waiting for? What is holding you back? Are you ready to tell the world The Good News?

Next Steps:
Know your next step so you’ll be ready to drop everything and run from the well—maybe it’s Baptism, attending GrowthTrack, joining a Group, checking out Celebrate Recovery, or asking the Prayer Team for prayer.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. I know that no matter what the world or myself thinks of me, YOU love me! Teach me, equip me, and help me go and tell the world your message. Help me understand it’s no joke! Jesus loves me, no matter what, and I matter! He IS talking to me! And, yes, he is talking to you too! Amen.


This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and five grandsons.


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What Are You Thirsting For? – Letters in Red

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Last weekend, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow concluded our series Letters in Red by unpacking John 4. In this chapter, a Samaritan woman journeyed to Jacob’s well to get water to quench her physical thirst. After she encountered Jesus there, she left her water bucket at the well and hurried back to her village. She then proclaimed the gospel to the people who had rejected her.

What would make a woman who had been an outcast in her community return in such a public manner? Because she was a changed woman—she had experienced living water!

John 4:28-30
28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

In Biblical times, the Jewish people believed that the Messiah would be able to tell the secrets in their hearts. It is sensible to think that the Samaritans, being half Jewish, felt the same way. The woman was so convincing that something life-altering had happened in her brief conversation with the man at the well, that they all wanted to see for themselves if he could be the Messiah. She told them to “come and see.” We need to be like the Samaritan woman and tell others to come and see what Christ has done in our lives.

The woman was looking to fill her bucket with something that could fulfill her. But when she found living water with Christ, she left her bucket behind. We are all looking for something to fulfill us. Josh demonstrated this point with many buckets. The “little more” bucket, the “clean up my life” bucket, the “bigger” bucket—which included a reference to Sir Mix-A-Lot (ha ha), the “minimalist” bucket, the “pleasure” bucket, the “KFC” bucket, and the “nicer” bucket. Jesus wants us to know that it is NOT about the bucket—it is about the well from which we are drawing. We need to leave our non-fulfilling buckets behind, stop seeking temporary solutions, and fill ourselves with Christ.

Isaiah 55:1
“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free!”

God wants us to see beyond physical needs and earthly pleasures. There is NOTHING on Earth that will satisfy us as much as knowing and serving Christ and doing his will. He is what we need to fill our buckets and delight our souls. When we eat and drink at God’s table, we are truly satisfied.

Matthew 6:33
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

The Samaritan woman left behind the very thing she went to the well to get. Some of us need to leave our buckets—whatever it is we’re chasing—behind too.

Questions:
What’s in the bucket that you need to leave behind? Shame, regret, perfection, desire for more, or pleasure?

The woman at the well told everyone about the Messiah. Do you have five individuals to whom you need to proclaim the good news about Christ? Who can you invite to next weekend’s Easter service?

Next Steps:
Watch “All Who Are Thirsty [Official Lyric Video] Vineyard Worship” featuring Brenton Brown. Listen to the words and accept the invitation to be fulfilled by Christ.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending Christ to fulfill me. Thank you for the living water you offer so I will never be thirsty. Minister to my heart so I may have a river of living water flow from it. Please, fill me with your loving spirit. Grant me wisdom so I may see the bucket I need to leave behind to be free. In your Son’s holy name, I pray, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


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If I Only Knew – Letters in Red

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As children, some of us grew up believing a skewed perception of what it means to be a follower of Christ. The little girl in me recalls believing Christ followers, regardless of age, were not to play cards, dance, go to movies, smoke, drink alcohol, or cuss. Those “worldly” activities would surely result in an eternity in Hell—something to be avoided at all costs (and understandably so). “Life,” as a Christ follower, was more about what you did not do than what you did. Now, I can honestly say, “If I only knew.”

The guilt of sneaking to see the first Beatles’ movie in 1964 is now laughable. I assure you, it was not laughable then. The burden of concern was heavy—what if Jesus were to return while I was at the movie? There was no question in my mind that I would have been destined to spend eternity in Hell. What a relief to walk out of the theater unscathed by the untimely return of Christ … well, untimely for me, the moviegoer!

If I only knew that having a personal relationship with Jesus is what following Christ is really about. If I only knew God is NOT a killjoy—out to stop any and every form of entertainment one might possibly enjoy. If I only knew he longed to have me bring every fear, doubt, and unsettled question to him. If I only knew he completely understood the emptiness in my heart and soul. If I only knew he alone could bring wholeness where brokenness took up residency.

Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow helped unpack this Biblical truth: “Since you can’t FULFILL your need to be FULFILLED, place your TRUST in the only one who can.” If I only knew some, if not many, of the pitfalls I took could have been avoided. An intentional look in the rearview mirror of life clearly shows God’s hand of protection in my life. He has not always stopped natural consequences from taking place in my life. He has, however, always been one prayer away—just waiting for me to come to the end of myself, choosing to seek him for much needed guidance in whatever dilemma I find myself. The same is true for you, if you only knew …

These truths are evident in John 4:10: “Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’ God excludes no sinner from this generous offer. In spite of our unworthiness, he offers it freely. If we only knew it is our choice to make.

Questions:
Have you accepted the gift of forgiveness available through Jesus Christ? If not, what keeps you from receiving this precious gift? What keeps you from embracing the truth of God’s word? What lies need to be deconstructed in your life? If you are a Christ follower, do you study his word daily?

Next Steps:
Examine yourself and identify the area(s) of your life that need repentance and his healing for your restoration. Pray God will send an accountability partner to walk with you on your spiritual journey.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, there are so many “If I only knew” reflections in my head and in my heart. Please forgive me for not seeking a deeper, more personal relationship with you earlier in my life. Guide me by the Holy Spirit as I intentionally saturate my mind with the truth of your word. Make me deeply uncomfortable when I stray from the path leading to you. I know your genuine love for me will bring correction to me. I want to be an example of your transformational power—so that you will receive all the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Karen Peck. Karen retired in March 2018 from Lucas County Information Services. She has been married over forty years. Karen rejoices over God’s faithfulness and God’s patience in her life and in her marriage. Nothing matters more to Karen than her relationship with God and her entire family. Her immeasurable faith in Christ and His ability to restore the broken runs deep within.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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