Discover Your Part in God’s Story – 25 Years

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Amazingly, CedarCreek is celebrating 25 years as a church.

Twenty-five years ago, I was a 16-year-old kid who had finally passed my driver’s test after the third attempt. Good grades, sports, Dietsch Brothers ice cream, and MTV Jamz made up my week, but my Sundays belonged to the church.

As a Christian, I tried to play the part taught to me, but I held onto the gifts God blessed me with. Rarely did I share them outside of my home church. I had yet to learn my purpose, and religion was something we did rather than live out in our daily lives. Our faith was as traditional as Thanksgiving dinnerseasonal, and the details rarely changed.

Luke 6:38
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

It takes time for many of us to discover our God-given gifts and even longer to understand that God’s purpose for us isn’t meant to be confined. We get to play a part in the story God is writing. Heaven blessed the day God sent you here. Think about how heaven rejoices when you discover WHY God sent you here.

Questions:
Are you sharing your faith with everyone, or are you too comfortable only living life with fellow Christians? Part of our journey requires growth, so how has your spiritual walk changed over the years?

Next Steps:
Take GrowthTrack to unlock your spiritual gifts. Join a small group and invite others to do the same. Let your unchurched friends know about CedarCreek, or ask them to check out other local churches.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for blessing me with an opportunity to share your love. Continue to show me new ways to make a difference in the world. Please, forgive me when I fall short of my purpose. Help me see my community’s heart with a broader view so that I may reach those who are lost. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, 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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


When I Grow Up – 25 Years

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When I was little, I wanted to be a dance teacher, singer, and artist. As I learned those things were probably not happening, I switched gears and became a nurse. I worked at a hospital for seven years and had a great team of coworkers and so many unforgettable patients. Then God guided me to stay at home with my kids.

It was a difficult decision for me because it meant pausing, and potentially ending, my hard-earned career as a nurse. Now that I’ve been at home for three years, I’m homeschooling, leading a Bible study group, writing about my faith, and recently, I’ve started a sticker business on Etsy. If you had asked me five years ago where I’d be now, I never would have guessed here.

I’ve taken the Spiritual Gift assessment a few times, and contrary to what one might expect from a nurse, healing and mercy were never my results. My tests have always reflected teaching, wisdom, and discernment. As a nurse, there were endless ministry opportunities but  very few instances where it even occurred to me. I was too focused on the chaos to notice God working. There are plenty of nurses who stay centered in their faith as they work. But this was not the way God gifted me. Even though on paper, I was doing big things—helping save lives and making major decisions—I didn’t feel the impact of my actions.

But now that I’m home, doing seemingly small things, I know God is using my gifts for his glory. I am using my gifts to help people in my small group discover the heart of Jesus. I’m writing about my faith in several outlets. I’m teaching my kids in the ways they need right now. And my little-kid-self who loved the arts is enjoying selling my art through stickers. As “small” as my life seems right now, my impact is so much bigger.

Here at CedarCreek, we are driven by living out our faith in big ways. It has been a theme throughout our 25-year history and remains to be. We focus on how and where we can make the biggest impact. We encourage each other to find out where God has gifted us so that we can use our gifts and discover our purpose! The great thing is that even if we don’t get it “right” right away, God will continue to guide us in the right direction.

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.

Ephesians 3:20
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Questions:
Are you being impactful with your spiritual gifts? Or are you like I was—in a place with great opportunity but simply not equipped with the tools to make the biggest impact? Where can you make your biggest impact?

Have you ever found yourself comparing your gifts to others? What can you do to help yourself see God’s glory in your own gifts? (Check out 1 Corinthians 12:18-21.)

Next Steps:
If you haven’t done so already, sign up for GrowthTrack! There you will discover your Spiritual Gifts and learn where you can use your gifts to serve others. If you already know your Spiritual Gifts, take a look at how well they are being used. Push yourself to find one area where your gifts can be used even further.

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to use the gifts you gave me to serve your kingdom, giving all the glory to you, the gift giver! Thank you for the gifts you have given me. I pray that I will recognize the opportunities to use them for the biggest impact. Also, thank you for CedarCreek, a place where we can encourage each other while always pointing to you. Amen.


This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a blogger at GratefulSheep.com and a stay-at-home mom and wife. She loves writing for this team, and she hopes to help convey God’s message through this 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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Who Knew? – 25 Years

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

It has been the second most impactful thing in my life—being part of the group that started CedarCreek Church in the late fall of 1994. I had only been a Christian since February of that year, but Lee Powell invited me to be part of a group that wanted to plant a new church. I’m not sure I even knew what that meant! But we began to meet and pray. Our main question was, “What would it look like for us to be the kind of church God intends for the world?”

On large sheets of paper, we began brainstorming what a new testament church should, could, and maybe would look like. We could shape it however the Lord led us—and based on our hopes and past experience, that’s what we set out to do. We had no money except for what the 25+ of us could put together among ourselves. Our attempts to raise significant donations were unsuccessful. We finally received a contribution for $2000 from an organization that one of the pastors, Steve Hutmacher, belonged to, and we had to decide what would be our best return on that endowment.

“Not Your Mother’s Church”

That was the advertisement we came up with. It was with extreme nervousness and a huge sense of adventure that we put up billboards and sent our mailers to the 43615 zip code. Under Lee Powell’s direction, and since then Ben Snyder’s leadership, we’ve tried hard not to be your mother’s church!

We have pushed conventional church values, and we have always been faithful to the message of the gospel: Jesus loves you! You matter to him!

How have we promoted that message?

Through advertising, casual dress environments, church partnerships, and contemporary worship music. By sending trucks full of supplies to areas damaged by natural disasters, planting and supporting satellite churches in communities here and around the world, and by helping single mothers with car maintenance. By celebrating Christmas Eve services with music from Trans-Siberian Orchestra or a trashcan rendition of “Little Drummer Boy,” and having Easter services featuring “the thief.” And, yes, even by hosting Group “Happy Hours,” unveiling the S*X series, and the April Fool’s campus beer production. We will do anything short of sin to reach people who are far from God! This has been a theme in our church’s story.

First Jesus, and then the apostle Paul, used stories and illustrations that people outside the church could relate to. They did this in order to establish the common ground upon which they could proclaim the Good News: Jesus sacrificed himself to bring us back into a right relationship with God.

Matthew 13:34
Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23   
22 … I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

Lee taught us that the church wasn’t about us. The tight-knit group that had met together for nine months, praying and dreaming about the plan God had for our church, met together for one last time, October 1, 1995. Lee told us that what we experienced during that time—the love, the closeness, the community—would never be the same. I mourn that to this day because it was sweet, it was wholeness, it was agape love that we felt for each other. But it was the sacrifice we were willing to make, because God had called us to be the local church. We believed, and still believe, that the local church is the hope of the world!

Who knew? God did! He invites you! Join us!

Questions:
Have you felt the call of God in your life? How have you responded? Will you go?

Next Steps:
When you feel God speak to you about what your next step should be, listen and put a plan in motion to do it! Talk to your life group or a trusted Christian friend about what you feel God has placed on your heart. Enlist their help to plan your next step and to hold you accountable for it.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, words cannot describe how grateful I am that you invited me to be a part of this church! I continue to pray that you invite other people to feel this call and to make a commitment to serve you in the local church. Use us, Lord, to invite people into this life-changing adventure! 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

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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Relentless God – 25 Years

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My family started attending CedarCreek Church 21 years ago when our two daughters were in preschool and kindergarten. Although I had accepted Jesus as my Savior as a young girl, I would have considered myself “saved” but not in a relationship with Jesus. My husband, Jeff, was raised not to believe in God. He was taught that all a church wanted was your money. He attended CedarCreek for about a year and read his Bible, but he made the choice not to believe in Christianity. At that time, the Bible didn’t make sense to him, and he just wasn’t interested.

My husband is a wonderful man. He’s always had strong morals. He is an excellent husband and father. He knew how important church was to me and he completely supported me raising our girls in the Christian faith. Out of respect for me, he would attend with us on Christmas and Easter.

I remember once when the girls were teenagers, we went to North Myrtle Beach during spring break. I wanted our family to go to a sunrise Easter service on the beach. My daughters had a fit because they didn’t want to get up early. I remember him telling them, “You are Christians, and I am not. I am going because it is important to your mom. And you are going too!”

Although my husband was not a Christ follower, he always appreciated all that CedarCreek did for the community, and he encouraged me to support CedarCreek financially. I remember one Christmas, about five years ago, CedarCreek asked for financial giving at the end of the year. I went to Jeff and asked him if I could give more than we had allotted; he said, “No.” During the Christmas Eve service, they discussed how a church that CedarCreek was partnering with, Rock City, made a difference in their community. They showed a clip of a young woman who was pregnant. She was not receiving support from her parents, and one parent was encouraging her to have an abortion. She felt defeated, but after attending a Rock City church service, she felt so much love and support that she decided against it. Then a picture of this woman’s daughter was displayed—she was beautiful! My husband was so touched by the difference a church made in this woman’s life that he leaned over and whispered, “You can give whatever you want.”

That Christmas Eve service affected him so much that Jeff began attending church with me a few weeks later. He didn’t go because he believed—he went because he thought the services made him a better man, husband, and father. He went for many Sundays, and slowly, God began to reach him. After years of praying for him (thank you to the many people at CedarCreek who also prayed for him), Jeff accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He was baptized on August 28, 2016, by Tom Martin and me. I was overjoyed! I know the angels in heaven were celebrating.

Luke 15:7
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

This weekend, Lead Pastor Ben said, “we are driven by God’s relentless heart for the lost.” This has been one of the themes throughout CedarCreek’s story. I praise God that he never gave up on my husband. I praise God for the wonderful people at CedarCreek who loved and supported him and me. I love that I belong to and serve at a church that does anything short of sin to win people to Christ.

Questions:
What is your CedarCreek story? How has your life been blessed by God through CedarCreek? What are you doing to help the people in your life find Christ?

Next steps:
Invite someone to church. Be prepared to tell them your life change story. Pray for Christ followers to step out and tell others about their hope in Jesus. Pray for God to soften the hearts of the unchurched so  they may be saved. Pray that CedarCreek will continue to bring glory to God.

Prayer:
Jesus, I am amazed and overjoyed that CedarCreek is celebrating its 25th anniversary. I praise you, Jesus, that you have a relentless heart for the lost. I rejoice in all who have come to know you, been saved by you, and serve you at CedarCreek. Thank you for using us to reach the lost. Fill us with your love and compassion for each other and the lost. Please, help CedarCreek to continue to fulfill your mission. Help our church to continue to bring glory 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

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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


The Rock We’re Built On – 25 Years

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This past weekend, CedarCreek celebrated its 25-year anniversary. Do you realize just how long 25 years is? That’s long enough for a child to be born; grow into an adult; get a bachelor’s degree; spend a year or two wondering what she’s doing with her life and if God has a plan for her; apply for an internship she’s not even sure she wants at the church where she grew up; get accepted; realize she loves the work she’s doing there; and eventually, get hired. And that’s my story.

You could say CedarCreek has played a huge role in my life, and I’m proud to call it home, especially because of the key themes that have been part of CedarCreek’s story throughout its 25 years.

Here at CedarCreek, we believe the local church is the hope of the world.

People don’t change because of laws, facts, convincing arguments or interesting information. Do you know what consistently changes lives? God’s love as seen through the kindness of other people.

Big changes require a lot of small, individual changes. If you want to transform the world, you have to start at home, then in your own community, one person at a time. That’s what the local church—all local churches—are for. They are part of a life-giving movement, bringing about God’s redemption one individual story at a time, all across the world.

So how do people reach other people?

Here at CedarCreek, we have a rebellious spirit that demands “real.”

If you want to see your life change and help others do the same, you’ll need to start by taking off  your mask and showing the world the real you. God’s light doesn’t shine through “perfect people”—it’s best seen through people who will honestly admit: “This is who I was before Jesus. These are the things I’ve done, the people I’ve hurt, and what’s been done to me. I was just like you—but listen to what Jesus did for me and is now doing through me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Recognizing your need for Jesus Christ is just the first step—a huge, significant, life-changing step, but God has so much more in store for you!

John 10:10
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Here at CedarCreek, we passionately invite people to take next steps on their spiritual journey.

God wants us to know him personally, finding true freedom and healing through his love. He wants to redeem us from the attitudes and actions that hurt others. He wants us to discover how he designed us for a life of purpose and meaning as we serve the cause of Christ. And he wants us to share his love with others. Now that’s a life worth living.

Some people think the Christian life is boring, but when I hear all of that, I get so excited. It sounds like an adventure!

Here at CedarCreek, we will call you to boldly lay down your life for a greater adventure.

Matthew 16:25
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

Thank you, CedarCreek, for helping me to know God, find freedom, discover my purpose, and make a difference in the lives of others. Thank you for the role you played in making me the person I am today and for the way you’re shaping my future. May I, in turn, do all I can to help provide the same for others.

Over the next four days, we’ll examine other key themes from our church’s story. If you’re new to CedarCreek and want to know what we’re all about, you picked a great week to be reading the LivingItOut. Even if you’ve been part of CedarCreek for years, I highly encourage you to read it every day this week—it’s good to be reminded exactly why we do things the way we do as a church.

Questions:
Do you agree with the values mentioned here? Which do you agree with most? Which is most important to you? Why? How can you live out that value in your daily life?

Next Steps:
If you agree with these values, live like it. Get connected with and advocate for your local church. Be courageously real, and be a safe person for others to be real around. Look for your next step, and help those around you to do the same. Be willing to set down your preferences and comforts in favor of the more satisfying adventure Jesus invites us into!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the local church—for CedarCreek, and for all local, life-giving churches. Thank you for the way they’re introducing people to you and changing lives like mine. Thank you that, because of you, we don’t have to wear masks or pretend to be okay. Thank you for the satisfying adventure you invite us into! Help us to be authentic, to take next steps and to help others do the same, and to boldly lay down our lives for you. May your will be done in us and through us. 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.


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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Look Up – Finding Peace

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Once upon a time, I was on the Junior Varsity volleyball team. After each game, a varsity jersey was awarded to a player, who was permitted to dress “varsity” for the next game. The coach would always give a speech about how performance is rewarded. I really wanted that jersey! For the first few games, I could see the stats were close, and handing out the jersey was likely a judgment call.

So I kept working hard.

Eventually, the day came when I dominated the game in hits and blocks. The proof was in black and white on the stats sheet. The coach walked toward me with the jersey—it felt like everyone was watching—and she handed it to another hitter. The same one who had dressed for the previous game. I remember being so mad at how unfair it was. And then I actually had the thought, “I will never be good enough.” Anxiety followed me onto the court for many games after that.

As an adult, I can look back and clearly see that my eyes were fixed on that jersey. When it was taken away, my peace went with it. My mom gave me some advice during that hard time, and here it is …

Life is not fair, so get used to it! 

If our peace is dependent on whether things in our lives are fair, we will never achieve a non anxious presence. The good news is we were never meant to live a life dependent on the “things” in this world.  When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we are promised peace—regardless of what the world throws at us! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and remind us of this truth that we can stand on.

All you have to do is, “ask (for peace) and it will be given to you; seek and you will find (peace); knock and the door will be opened to you” (Mathew 7:7 NIV).  You are never alone.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Questions:
What anxious thoughts are showing up in your life? Are you holding onto something because you feel it is unfair? Is there something in your life that you are trying to control, but you know you need to let it go?

Next Steps:
Journal about the above questions and surrender those things to God, asking him to restore your peace.

Spend time praying for people who have hurt you or are difficult in your life. Ask God to take your hurt and exchange it for peace.

Prayer:
God, we need your help to reclaim our peace. Please search our hearts and show us what is standing in the way of the peace you have for us.  Help us with our thought life! Replace our anxious thoughts with the truth that you have for us. Help us surrender all to you! Amen.


This post was written by April Willer, 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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Engage Daily with God – Finding Peace

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I am amazed that the God of the universe wants to spend time with us. He longs to bless us, love us, and give us his peace. He is such a loving Father that he turns his face toward us with love in his eyes. He yearns to have a personal relationship with us.

Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow spoke on Numbers 6:24-26 during the weekend services.

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Today, I will focus on the importance of spending time with Jesus every day. It is how we build a relationship with him. I have personally been changed through my daily quiet time with Jesus. I pray, meditate on verses, study his Word, repent, praise him, and thank him. During this time, I know that Jesus is changing me. He is giving me the ability to love others and filling me with his joy and peace. I have learned I can get through anything with him by my side. Conversely, on the days I don’t spend time with him, I’m a “hot mess” and a little crazy!

Josh stressed that attending a weekend service is not enough to build a relationship with God. If you want to experience his peace and love, you have to engage with him daily. I am sure some of you are wondering, “How will I find the time?”

I suggest you pick a time of day when you are focused and find a cozy, quiet, and peaceful place. Light a candle and have your favorite cup of coffee or tea nearby. Take a few relaxing deep breaths to quiet yourself. Say a prayer, read the Bible, journal, listen to worship music, or read the LivingItOut.

Start with 5 or 10 minutes. I think you’ll find that pretty soon, you will want to spend more time in his presence. You may find yourself taking a quick walk or grabbing lunch and praying. Or, maybe you will have index cards with verses posted around your home, in your purse, or at the office. You will crave this special time with Jesus more than you crave your morning cup of coffee. I challenge you to try it. You will be amazed and deeply grateful you spent time with our Savior.

Questions:
Are you regularly spending time with God? If so, how? How has your quiet time brought you peace?

If not, what’s holding you back?

Next Steps:
Plan a time to spend with Jesus every day. Choose a chapter in the Bible and read a few verses each day. Meditate on it. Pray about it. Ask God to teach you what he wants you to learn. Journal about what he is teaching you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that you, the God of the universe, wants a personal relationship with me. You long for me to spend time with you, and you want what is best for me. I am your beloved child. Help me to always make you my top priority. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Change me, Lord. 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

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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Held in His Hand – Finding Peace

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I don’t know about you, but I worry a lot! And in this season, it feels like I am worrying overtime. There is just so much more to worry about. When I put my faith in the probability that something will (or won’t) happen, my health, or even my family’s support, I only walk away feeling more anxious.

On those nights when I lie awake, panicking when I should be asleep, I have to remind myself that worrying will get me nowhere. I know that I need to give my worries to God. But relinquishing my fears is harder than it sounds.

Over the weekend, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow’s bottom line was, “If you want peace today, pray.” Sometimes, it is helpful to take it a step further by memorizing or writing down God’s Word. This imprints God’s truth on your heart—for when you need it most.

I love to write my prayers down. It helps me to make the time that I’m praying more intentional. (And it keeps my thoughts from drifting!) It is also truly amazing to look back and see how my prayers have been answered. Writing centers me in the one who loves me most, God. It helps me, literally and figuratively, “write away” my fears.

Josh also said, “Who you are kept by will determine your peace.” Being “kept” means to be held. God is holding you now, and you can find peace in that truth.

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

God is strengthening us. He is holding us up. When we let money, our jobs, or even our families strengthen us and take God’s place, we are only opening our hearts to more anxiety.

Who you are kept by will determine your peace.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Let God keep you today.

Questions:
What or whom do you typically turn to when you are anxious? How has that worked for you?

In which areas of your life do you need to relinquish your fears and trust God?

Next Steps:
Take some time today to write down your fears, your prayers, or an encouraging Bible verse. Consider memorizing a verse, like Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 26:3, or Joshua 1:9 to imprint God’s truth on your heart.

Prayer:
Father God, thank you for offering me your peace. Help me trust you to keep me. I know you are holding me now. When I am afraid, remind me that you are always with me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Lydia Snyder. Lydia has been a story-lover for as long as she can remember, often found reading books or writing. She is thrilled to be making a difference by inspiring others to take part in the best story ever – God’s story. Lydia lives with her three wonderful siblings and two amazing parents.


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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Start with Gratitude – Finding Peace

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Think back to your childhood. Remember how your parents taught you to say “thank you” from a very young age? Showing gratitude makes others feel appreciated, and it reminds us of our dependence upon them. Saying “thank you” formally recognizes the good in another person and brings it to the surface. In the weekend message, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow noted that we should start with gratitude, glorifying God rather than grumbling, because gratitude paves the way to peace.

The same can be said about God. We need to recognize that God is good, faithful, and loves us very much. He answers our prayers in the way we would want him to, if we knew what God knows.

Many times, we find ourselves more interested in the things that God can provide us rather than in experiencing God himself. Or, in other words, we’re more focused on the creation than knowing the Creator.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

This weekend, Perrysburg Campus Pastor, Josh Whitlow, used the example of preventing his daughter from placing her finger in an electrical receptacle to illustrate how God protects us from things we might ask for in our prayers.

God loves to bless you. He is a good father, who wants good things for his children, but often, we think that God is withholding from us what we think we want. Because of his love for us, God wants to bless us, and this blessing reflects his heart.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Josh encouraged us to create a “Life-Giving List.” Recognizing and remembering the blessings in our life is something we can do every day, at bedtime or in the morning, to help us to stay in rhythm with a non-anxious life. Remember to include:

  • People: Who are the people who give you life? Your spouse, a parent, a group of friends? As you identify these people in your life, thank God for them. Also, share with them how thankful you are for them.
  • Places: What are your favorite places? Take time and identify the places that give you life—a vacation spot, a reading chair, or a park. Thank God for these places and for all he has provided around you.
  • Activities: What activities do you enjoy, look forward to, and find peace in? Perhaps a walk, playing a sport, watching a movie, or being alone. Thank God for this opportunity, for this time.

Numbers 6:24 (NIV)     
“The Lord Bless you and keep you.” He is the Creator of the universe, the Mighty One, the King of kings, and the Father.

James 1:17
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

Questions:
Have you expressed your gratitude to God? How did you feel afterward?

How can a spirit of gratitude help you live in a rhythm of non-anxiousness?

Next Steps:
Be willing to let God interrupt your schedule and change your plans as he sees fit. It’s easy to get bent out of shape when things don’t go as planned (I’ll be the first to admit that I do at times), but you need to consider that, maybe, things are going exactly according to plan—just not yours. Give gratitude to God today, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Prayer:
Abba, Father, I am so thankful for the relationship that I have with you. You know the times I have been ungrateful and the times I’ve held ill thoughts toward you and others. You know the times I’ve complained and grumbled about life and its circumstances, but you love me regardless—even when I don’t deserve it. I am thankful for the decisions that you allow me to make, and the life lessons that come from those decisions. Thank you for showing your love for me. Amen.


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, 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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


BE FREE INDEED! – Finding Peace

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For three weeks, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder unwrapped the life-giving series Finding Peace during a time when peace has been in short supply. He explained that God’s love is not circumstantial but provisional. He spoke about how, without God’s love at the center of our lives, our actions and reactions can be motivated by fear instead of love. The great news is that God’s love has the ability to drive out all fear, in every event, circumstance, and uncertainty.

Ben pointed out how our inner anxiety—based on our fears of not being in control, not getting what we want, and not knowing what to do—not only has a damaging effect on us but also on those around us. Anxiety is contagious … just check your news feed.

Here’s the good news—There is no need to fear.

We have a choice: we can accept fear as our motivator or embrace love as the center of all our responses. Not just any love but God’s unconditional love in all circumstances.

How? We accept the gift of salvation through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our perfect Savior. Because of our faith, we become recipients of his perfect, unconditional love. In Greek, “God’s love” is called agape. Without it, we are running on empty.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Never forget that “… God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:16). No need to fret. We who love the Lord are children of the King of kings. He promises that all things work for our good, even the scary, painful stuff. Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Thank you, Lord!

Over the weekend, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow completed the series by explaining how we can live a life of peace at all times. Remember, God’s peace is provisional—it doesn’t go away when times are tough. But the noise in our heads can separate us from that peace. Josh explained how to stay in the rhythm of living out God’s peace every minute of every day. Over the next four days we will be taking a closer look at Numbers 6:24-26 and how we can live in a rhythm of non-anxiousness. I invite you to journey along with us as we look at practical steps we can take to create a rhythm of peace.

Questions:
How peaceful are you? What do you spend your time thinking, talking, and worrying about? Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Next Steps:
Pray. Bring your concerns and anxieties before the Lord multiple times a day. Recite Numbers 6:24-26 while remembering this is God’s special blessing for you:

“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”

Purposefully read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Substitute the word “agape” where it reads “love.” When we learn to turn down the noise and pray, this love saves us and keeps us in peace all the days of our lives.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with your perfect peace through my relationship with Jesus Christ who is my Savior, and the only one who is truly righteous and brings me before your throne to hear and answer every prayer I pray. Lord help me to live a peace filled life by making good noise canceling decisions in good times and in hard times.  In Jesus’ 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

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:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media