Here For A Reason – Get Me Outta Here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In today’s culture, it can feel like it is OK to be anything except a Bible-believing Christ-follower. It seems as if many of today’s influencers have made it their goal to label those who profess Christ as Lord and believe that the words in the Bible are true as Public Enemy No. 1. We are essentially living in a modern-day Babylon.

In ancient Babylon, there were no limits. God used this evil and pagan empire to punish Israel for its idolatry. The Israelites coming into this new culture would have been horrified at the depravity of the culture. Does any of this sound familiar?

It seems like we hear about new levels of depravity and idolatry in our culture daily. Sometimes, I just want to stick my fingers in my ears or hide my head in the sand. Yet, I know that God put me here, at this time, in this place, for a reason.   God sent the prophet Jeremiah to encourage the exiles in Babylon, and the words he spoke to them can encourage us today.

Jeremiah 29:4-7
4 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”

God is telling his people to live and thrive in the culture where he has placed them. He is telling us the same thing. If we hide ourselves from the world around us, who will be the voice of God in our culture? If Christ followers stop having children and raising them to love the Lord, the light will go out, and no one will be there to stand up in the darkness. It is becoming more difficult to live as a Christ-follower, and I am afraid that in the not-so-distant future, it will become even harder. But, God put you here for a reason.

Jeremiah 29:11-14
11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

You need to be here, but you should look different than those around you. Your life is a light in the darkness, reflecting Christ to an unbelieving world. When we put our faith in Christ, we will have a future and a hope. The Lord hears the prayers of those who are earnestly seeking him. He will not abandon us to the world around us. As Pastor Ben Snyder reminds us in last weekend’s bottom line, what or who you place your faith in will shape what you hope for.

Questions:
Do you ever despair that you are living in this world, at this time? When you hear the latest headline, how do you feel? Do you have hope, or do you want to hide?

Next Steps:
Begin reading the book of Daniel (Daniel 1).  Notice how Daniel uses his influence in a pagan culture to shine the light of God, and how the world around him responds.

Attend GrowthTrack to discover your purpose.

Participate in the Hope It Helps campaign.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for putting us here at this time, in this place. Thank you for the privilege to be your light in a dark world. Give us strength to live and thrive in our communities, yet remain fully committed to you. Give us strength to stand up for what is right and to bear the name of Christ boldly and unashamedly. Amen.


This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.


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
John Reading Plan


Daniel was Faithful – Get Me Outta Here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder kicked off our series Get Me Outta Here! with a dive into the Old Testament book of Daniel. It gives the account of the prophet, Daniel, who was known for his righteousness and wisdom. He was a faithful follower of God, and God gave him the ability to interpret the meaning of dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17).

Daniel (Belteshazzar) and his three friends, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) were among the best and the brightest. They were taken into exile in Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar besieged and conquered Jerusalem. The king’s chief of staff changed their God-honoring Hebrew names to Babylonian names connected to false Gods, essentially changing their identities (Daniel 1:7). Pastor Ben said that this may have appeared hopeless, but that all depends on whom or what you place your faith in.

King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his chief of staff to bring the best of the exiled, young Jewish men to the royal palace to be trained for three years. Then, those selected, would enter into the royal service (Daniel 1:5). During their training, the men were given access to the king’s kitchen. Nebuchadnezzar believed the food for the elite was much better than that of common people and would help them to be in the best shape possible.

Daniel 1:8
But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.

Daniel requested that he not eat the king’s food because it was not kosher. He and his three friends chose one personal area where they could demonstrate their faith in God—by following the food laws in the Torah.

Pastor Ben explained that Daniel allowed his faith in God to shape what he was hoping for in his future. Daniel did not protest the Babylonian diet; he merely asked the chief of staff for a kosher diet so as not to defile himself. As a result, he did not get stuck in a Get Me Outta Here! moment. He allowed his faith in God to shape what he was hoping for in his circumstance

Daniel 1:17, 19
17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So, they entered the royal service.

Some thought that their unusual aptitude could be attributed to the special diet, but instead, it was because of the intervention of God. These four young men whole-heartedly gave themselves to God, and he blessed them for it.

Daniel and his friends were immersed in Babylonian culture, yet they remained faithful to God. It could be said that they were in Babylon but not of Babylon.

The Book of Daniel offers hope to all future generations of Christ followers. It encourages its readers to increase their trust in God and faithfulness to him.

Questions:
Do you feel stuck in a Get Me Outta Here! moment? If so, how could you be faithful to God to shape what you are hoping for?

Have you lost sight of what you are hoping for? If so, what can you do to regain focus?

Next Steps:
Check out “Thriving in Babylon,” at https://cedarcreek.tv/resources.

Visit https://BibleProject.com  and listen to overviews of Books of the Bible.

Prayer:
Dear loving and gracious God, help us to remain faithful in Get Me Outta Here! moments. Open our eyes so we may see the great things with which you bless the faithful. Grant us wisdom to see your hope when we feel stuck. In Jesus’ name, 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.


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
John Reading Plan


Our Hope is Certain – Get Me Outta Here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Some psychologists believe that hope is associated with the ability to have our vital needs met. These needs are attachment (connection with others), mastery (being productive), and survival. If these needs become threatened, it’s easy for our hope to diminish. Over time, we may begin to describe our situation as hopeless, having lost all expectations for our situation to improve.

Threats to our attachment, mastery, and survival are inevitable, and when they arise, we find ourselves in a “get me outta here” moment. We may feel stuck or trapped. We may feel like we’re being chased and incapable of outrunning the pain or the hurt that’s following us. It feels like we can’t escape—like it will never end.

The truth is, as long as we put our faith in others or in our own abilities to meet these vital needs, it won’t end. We’ll constantly vacillate between hopefulness and hopelessness, a cycle that will leave us more and more broken as time passes.

Thankfully, we’re invited into a different kind of hope. An everlasting hope. Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s bottom line was “what we put our faith in shapes what we hope for.” Putting our faith in Christ opens us up to experience a hope that is alive within us, regardless of our circumstances! A hope that is immune from the threats of this world because it is not of this world.

Hebrews 6:19
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

The hope Christ provides is eternal, transcending anything we can experience here on earth. When he gave his life for us, he became the source of hope for us, allowing us to be reunited with God—to be the people he created us to be. This hope allows us to find joy and peace and life in every situation, even when we just can’t take it anymore, even when we’re shouting, “GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

Day after day our vital needs will be threatened, and in those times, our hope will also feel threatened. But because of who Jesus is and what he accomplished, it doesn’t have to be. In Christ, our hope is certain. By keeping our faith in him, we can remain steadfast through our trials and be confident that the best is yet to come.

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Questions:
Which of your vital needs has recently felt threatened? Did you lose (or are you losing) hope? Where are you putting your faith to meet these needs (yourself, others, or Jesus)?

Next Steps:
Download the YouVersion Bible app and read more about hope. This searchable Bible makes it easy to find everything God says about hope!

Set aside a few minutes each day to connect with God in prayer.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for being my everlasting source of hope. I put my faith in you, Jesus, to keep me anchored, to help me be patient throughout whatever troubles may come my way. When I feel stuck, remind me to examine where my faith is to ensure it’s in you and nowhere else. In your name, amen.


This post was written by Ryan Leone. Ryan is grateful to help people experience Jesus through the written word. He and his wife Mia are Ohio natives who now live in Boulder, Colorado with their dog Bella. Ryan spends most of his time running trails through the Rocky Mountains, exploring God’s beautiful creation.


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
John Reading Plan


A Wrong Turn – Get Me Outta Here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Growing up, a staple of our family road trips was a Garmin GPS that gave directions in a British accent. We dubbed her Greta. We punched in the address, and my parents would faithfully follow her directions, trusting her to get us where we wanted—right up until we hit a big city.

Without fail, Greta would fritz on us every time we reached a city, and my parents would have to scramble for another way to navigate. The GPS we usually trusted and followed didn’t inspire much hope when we knew we would be encountering large, urban areas.

Misplaced faith, while humorous when it’s about a GPS, can be devastating when it comes to our lives. Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about how faith fuels hope. The Bible defines faith this way:

Hebrews 11:1
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

When we begin trusting the wrong things, it affects not only the way we perceive our lives but also our behaviors. We rely on our own capabilities, on others, on material possessions, or any number of faulty things. They may not be inherently flawed on their own, but they’ll ultimately fail us when we place our faith in them. We’re left feeling stuck and hopeless.

Hebrews 11:6
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

God, however, offers us a different path. He wants us to trust him instead of the plethora of things that will leave us empty—to sincerely seek him and turn to him for our identity, worth, and comfort. What pleases him is faith, not us attempting to be perfect on our own strength or checking off all the right, religious habits.

He can give us the peace and joy our soul craves, and he will not lead us down a wrong turn.

Questions:
Where have you been placing your faith lately? Has it been centered on God, or has it drifted to something else?

How can you keep your trust fixed on God throughout this week?

Next Steps:
Read Hebrews 11, which is sometimes referred to as “The Hall of Faith.”

If you haven’t already, join a Group. Connection with other Christians is a great way to grow your faith.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I confess that sometimes I trust and rely on other things instead of you. Please help me turn to you, because you are faithful and will lead me well. Thank you for inviting me to trust you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Sarah Pagel. Sarah is passionate about weaving stories pierced with beauty, light, and sehnsucht. She’s an avid reader of everything from dusty classics to modern fantasy. When not living in worlds made of words, she can be found spending time with her family, taking long walks, or practicing yet another Vivaldi piece on her violin.


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
John Reading Plan


Where Is Your Focus? – Get Me Outta Here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When’s the last time you felt stuck? Maybe it was when you were sitting in your house, looking at all the snow in your driveway that needed to be shoveled. Maybe it was the last time you had to quarantine. Maybe it was something deeper than that, a time when you didn’t just feel stuck—you felt hopeless.

After I graduated college, I went through a season where I felt hopeless. My plan was to be a copy editor at a publishing house. I had the passion, the education, the talent. I was willing to go wherever I was hired—just preferably not Northwest Ohio, where I’d grown up.

So, I put out applications, did interviews, and got rejected.

Again.

And again.

And again.

At this point, I was living with my parents, in the same small town I’d grown up in, with no clear direction, no sense of purpose, and very few relational connections. This wasn’t where I wanted to be. I was miserable. I was stuck. I wanted out.

At one point, in the middle of a perfectly normal conversation with my dad about how the job hunt was going, I burst out crying as I asked him, “Why won’t anyone hire me?”

For context, my dad is agnostic. But in that moment, he looked at me and asked, “Payton, do you think your God’s abandoned you?” He continued to explain that, one day, I was going to get where I was supposed to be; that one day, I’d look back on our conversation and laugh that I’d been so worried.

That conversation put things in perspective. It reminded me that the true source of my faith was God. So, I shifted my focus back to him, trusting and hoping that if I was faithful, he’d make sure I was exactly where I was supposed to be—even if it didn’t look the way I expected it to.

Gradually, things started to improve, and I got more connected at CedarCreek. I joined a Group and started writing for the LivingItOut again. Eventually, I got an email suggesting I should apply for CedarCreek’s internship.

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do the internship. But the more I heard, the more interested I became, and soon, I was all in.

By the end of the internship, I was hoping they’d take me on as an apprentice. I loved the work I was doing, the people I was working with, and the mission of our organization. I still love all those things today, as I approach three years on staff—four years since I first started as an intern. These days, I have a strong sense of community, with amazing friends I can rely on; I can see the way God’s using me to make a difference; and, as of last year, I finally moved out of my parents’ house.

Bottom Line: What or who you place your faith will shape what you hope for.

Looking back, this is not the life I’d originally hoped for. However, when I placed my faith in God, who I knew I could trust, I was able to find hope again in a time when I’d felt hopeless and stuck.

This weekend, we started a new series called Get Me Outta Here!, where we’re exploring the book of Daniel. In it, we can see the way faith fueled the hope of Daniel and his friends. Over the next few days, we’ll unpack some of the main points from the weekend message, but today, I just want to leave you with this—no matter how stuck you feel, God has not abandoned you. You can trust and place your faith in him.

Daniel 10:19
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”

Questions:
When was the last time you felt stuck? Do you currently feel stuck?

What are you hoping for right now? What are you placing your faith in?

Next Steps:
Set aside time every day to connect with God through prayer and Scripture to help keep your eyes on the one you can trust, even when you feel stuck or hopeless.

If you’re not currently in one, look into joining a Group. Surrounding yourself with other Christians can help to remind you where your hope comes from and give you the support you need when you feel stuck.

Share some hope with others who might be feeling stuck through our Hope It Helps! campaign—start a list of ways you could help someone who might be feeling stuck.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, even when we don’t know where you’re leading us, we know we can trust in you. Thank you for your faithfulness, and for all the times you’ve helped us get through the places where we felt stuck. Help us to turn to you the next time we feel hopeless, and help us to share the hope you’ve given us with others. 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
John Reading Plan