Representing Jesus – I Said This, You Hear That.

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My best friend joined the Army because he lost a bet with his recruiter. The recruiter joined us in a game of 21, during which he “failed” to play up to our level. Afterward, he challenged my friend to a game of one-on-one—if my buddy lost, he agreed to travel to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Columbus to take the aptitude test, complete his physical, and swear in. That game turned into a 23-year Army career. The 5’7” recruiter played college ball (on scholarship) at Arkansas, which he divulged after his win.

A year later, I walked into the office of a Marine recruiter who had been picking my brain for weeks. His eyes lit up when he told me a story about his Gunny who served as a sniper in Vietnam.

Almost 20 years later, I smiled while receiving recognition at my wife’s Navy retirement ceremony. (Yeah, the story about snipers and war didn’t work to recruit this guy.)

I’m sure that sniper story worked to bring in other people, but it was the wrong conversation to pique my interests. My friend’s recruiter understood how to keep him engaged. The recruiter knew what was needed to get my buddy to the next step. He was a good ambassador for the Army.

2 Corinthians 5:20
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Paul reminds us that we represent God’s purpose out in the world. As ambassadors, we do more than repeat what we hear in church—we move beyond our own interests. Paul also chooses his words carefully to demonstrate the power of God. Jesus, who didn’t sin, was made an offering for our sin. In the NIV translation, it reads, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” His was and is the ultimate act of love. He put us (sinners) first. God understands our needs.

As I think back to the two recruiting stories, I understand a little more of how my friend and I took different paths. My temperament is blue. I need safety, space, and silence. I only heard chaos in my recruiter’s words. His interests weren’t mine. We must approach our conversations with others in a manner to meet their needs. As ambassadors, we must be more mindful, especially when engaging with younger generations. In the words of the poet, Propaganda, from his spoken word “Raise the Banner,” “We should consider our influence because the little ones want to be us.”

Questions:
Do you try to understand the needs of others before jumping into a conversation or relationship? Do you think about what and who you are representing out in the world?

Next Steps:
Take the temperament assessment if you haven’t already. Study it to better understand what your needs are. Ask family and friends what color they received to gain a better understanding of them. Don’t always be so quick to respond in every conversation; instead, choose your words wisely.

Prayer:
God, thank you for your righteous act of love. Thank you for allowing us to be your ambassadors. Remind us that our movement in this world is to serve your purpose, and to do so is an honor. We have a choice to make with every conversation we have. Our words are powerful. May our thoughts behind our words be purposeful. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Complementary – I Said This, You Heard That.

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If you look up the word “complementary,” you’ll find that it means to combine in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other. To me, that seems like the perfect word to exemplify what a marriage should be like between a husband and wife.

1 Peter 3:7
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

This October, my wife and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary. Through the years, we have both grown in our understanding of each other. I feel our marriage is truly complementary. Most of my weaknesses are in areas where she shines, and I am strong in areas where she may not be quite as capable. As our relationship has developed more and more each year, we have both learned to adapt and rely on each other. I have learned to trust and appreciate her strengths and, at the same time, understand her weaknesses so I can be there for her when needed.

When we first took the temperament assessment, neither of us felt it was accurate; however as we read through each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we realized how “spot on” it actually was. My wife is a blue (melancholic), and I am a green (phlegmatic) with a heavy influence of red (choleric). Just to give you an example of how our temperaments complement each other: One of her weaknesses is a tendency to be moody; my complementary strength is patience. One of my weaknesses is an inclination to be aimless; her complementary strength is focus.

Each of the temperaments has its own strengths and weaknesses. Every strength needs to be celebrated, and every weakness needs to be acknowledged. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses for ourselves and others not only helps us to grow but also helps us to serve others better.  And serving others is an excellent way to celebrate our strengths!

The key is to use the knowledge of understanding others’ strengths and weaknesses to serve them, not to take advantage of them or take them for granted. I know that in our marriage, my wife always has my back. She knows when and where I need her help, and I believe she knows and trusts that I understand what she needs from me. Complementary!

Questions:
Have you and your spouse taken the temperament assessment? If so, have you really read through it to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses?

Next Steps:
If you have not done so, take the temperament assessment.

Learn about the different colors and what some of the strengths and weaknesses are of each.

When conversing with others, make it a point to ask their color and to share yours. It can be a great starting point for a meaningful relationship.

 

Prayer:
Our most gracious and loving God, we are so thankful that you created us in your image, and that you gave us the opportunity and privilege to develop relationships through marriage. Father, help me to always be attentive to my spouse’s needs, to cherish what they bring to our relationship, and to also make sure I always bring my best to the relationship. Father, help me to not only use my strengths in my marriage but also to serve those I meet each day, for your honor and your glory. Amen.


This post was written by Ned Miller, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Words for You – I Said This, You Heard That.

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The series we are embarking on is so relevant—for everyone. I know of no one who is so proficient in the four temperaments (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic), that stepping into this series would be a waste of their time. Understanding how we are hard-wired is foundational because different temperaments speak and hear entirely different languages.

The temperament we are born with sets our “tone” with others. The best place to start is to understand the strengths and weaknesses associated with our temperament—in my case, melancholic. It is clear to me now—unfortunately, too late to help with my past career—that it was never my intent to irritate my former boss with my language of perfection and order. Yet, that’s exactly what I did. My language was foreign to him. He spoke choleric not melancholic.

The theme verse for this series is Ephesians 4:20: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (NIV, emphasis added).

Had I had the wherewithal to build my boss up according to his needs, not my own, it would undoubtedly have eliminated multiple bumps in our working relationship.

In spite of being aware of this “temperament” business for years, it is NOT looking as though I will graduate with an acceptable passing grade anytime soon. Frankly, I have not exerted the necessary time and energy to embrace the practicality of fully understanding my own language (melancholic), much less the languages of others. However, I can obviously see it would benefit me and others to do so.

Thankfully, it is not too late. The bottom line “Engaging their TEMPERAMENT results in RELATIONAL BETTERMENT” makes it clear that fully stepping into this series is a win-win for me—and for you.

Philippians 2:3-4
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Questions:
Have you taken the temperament assessment? Are you willing to put in  the effort to improve every meaningful relationship? If not, why?

Next Steps:
Take the temperament assessment. Read the assessment results thoroughly to better understand your “language” and its accompanying strengths and weaknesses.

Check out the I Said This, You Heard That YouTube Channel for additional resources. If you’re a parent, don’t miss the section on Raising Great Kids which includes these videos: Parenting Your Yellow Child, Parenting Your Red Child, Parenting Your Blue Child, and Parenting Your Green Child

Prayer:
Dear God. Thank you for creating us unique and special. As I think about the snow outside, it reminds me that no two people are the same. Help me remember this when I communicate with those around me. Please give me the wisdom to choose the words that are not best for me but are best for those whom I am speaking with. Help me live out Philippians 2:3-4 by putting the interest of others before my interest. Thank you for the great example of what it looks like to put others first. I love you. 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

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Orange! – I Said This, You Heard That.

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I hope you have taken the color test that the church provided to help give context to our communication issues and styles. If not, take a few minutes to do that now by texting “COLORS” to 419-419-0707. You will be provided with a link that will take you to the quiz.

I always love to take these types of tests—right up to the time when they tell me the bad news. I don’t know about you, but I already know the bad sides of my personality type! I balance between red and yellow, which comes as no surprise to those of you who know me! That means that I am outgoing (loud), love to organize things with people (pushy), spontaneous (interrupts), delegates well (impatient) … the good (with the bad)!

As I look at scripture, I find my personality brothers in John and James, the “Sons of Thunder,” as Jesus called them.  In Mark 10:35-37, they come to Jesus with a pretty bold request—here’s the gist: “Hey, Jesus, when you come into your kingdom, let one of us sit on your right hand and the other on your left. (We’ll fight about who is where later!)”

Jesus has their number (which I’m thinking must be like a 25 on the red scale)! He replies something to the effect of: “You don’t know what you’re asking; although, at some point, you will understand the cost of this request when you have to pay it!”

Needless to say, the selfish, self-centered request by John and James does not go unnoticed with the rest of the guys, and they let them know about it. At which point, Jesus says what we choleric/sanguines do NOT want to hear!

Mark 10:42-45
42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“But,” I say, “I have the leadership gift! I am supposed to lead.” (That means everyone else should follow—i.e. do what I say!) “I have the education. I have the experience. I … I … I …”

To which Jesus replies, “Others, others, others.” Among us followers of Christ, it should be different. We get to lead the way in serving and loving others, just as Jesus did when he led the way to the cross!

As I think about how our words should be used to build others up so as to encourage those who are listening, I regret the times I’ve weaponized my words so as to be thought witty at someone else’s expense. I’ve squandered opportunities to celebrate the successes of others because it might take the spotlight off my accomplishments.

I am grateful that Jesus still loves me, even when I disregard the price he paid so that I could love the people he loves. My personality type has many positive attributes, and thankfully, the negative ones can be worked on through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me! It is a wonderful thing to know how God has made me. It is even more wonderful to realize that he’s not done with me yet!

Today is another day that we can choose to glorify God by being the person he created us to be. To love and serve those he has put in our lives. To offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him!

Questions:
Who in your life can you love and serve? Do you know how they receive love? Is it the same way you do? If not, what can you do to bridge the communication gap?

Next Steps:
Once you answer the above questions, put a plan in place to re-establish communication with those you identified. Ask questions like, “If I say____, what do you think I mean?” Or, “When I say one thing, how is it that you seem to understand it another way?” Listen with an open heart and an open mind! Even we orange people can learn if we keep our mouths shut!

Prayer:
Father, I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made, crafted by you even before you created the world. But I am steeped in sin, and my desire is to make myself grand! Forgive me, Lord, and renew my mind in your word, that I can love who you love and hear what you say to me. My desire is to serve you, and I know that only happens when I serve those you love. Give me the heart to love them too! I have what it takes! You gave it to me! Help me use it all to your glory! 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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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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Words Matter – I Said This, You Heard That.

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“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”
—Michael Scott (yellow), “The Office”

Yellows speak the language of people who are fun. They tend to be enthusiastic, popular, affectionate, joyful, loud, and prone to interrupt. They hate to be alone.

“I will never be happier than I am right now. I will also never be less happy. I will be at my current level of happiness for the rest of my life. Because I am Manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin … Acting Manager.”
Dwight Schrute (red), “The Office”

Reds speak the language of power and control. They tend to be bossy, confident, driven, self-directed, quick-tempered, impatient, and decisive.

“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.”
Pam Beesly (green), “The Office”

Greens speak the language of calm and harmony. They tend to be tolerant, easy-going, patient, kind, diplomatic, indecisive, and stubborn.

“Michael should have asked the party planning committee first. He’s not supposed to just spring things on us out of nowhere.”
—Angela Martin (blue), “The Office”

Blues speak the language of order and perfection. They tend to be cautious, empathetic, creative, moody, and critical. They typically enjoy solitude and are perfectionists.

By understanding our wiring, we can become the best versions of ourselves. And just as important, by understanding how others are wired, we can learn to communicate more effectively with them. In his weekend message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder defined communication as “a series of choices we make in what we say or don’t say.” Knowing the temperament of those close to you is very helpful in knowing the words they need to hear.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (emphasis added).

The bottom line from the weekend message was “Engaging their TEMPERAMENT results in RELATIONAL BETTERMENT.” (Whereas ignoring their temperament creates relational detachment.) We’re each wired to need certain words. As a blue, I need safety, sensitivity, support, space, and silence. My husband (green) needs harmony, a lack of stress, respect, and a feeling of worth. Reds need a sense of control, loyalty, credit for work, and appreciation. Yellows need acceptance, affection, approval, and attention.

When Jesus talked to people during his earthly ministry, his words ranged from scandalously sensitive to shockingly bold. He spoke to the meek with compassion, the arrogant with ferocity, and the eager with firm encouragement. At times when we expected him to get angry, he was kind. When we thought he would be gentle, he was tenacious. But his responses to people weren’t just based on emotion or passion. He spoke to people in the way that best allowed them to become who God intended them to be.

Words have power. When you use them, think about what the person you’re talking to needs to be built up. This is how we truly love people.

Questions:
How would knowing your loved ones’ temperaments potentially change how you speak to them?

If you’ve taken the temperament assessment, check out the section titled “Your Innate Needs.” Do you agree with what it has to say about how you need to be spoken to?

Next Steps:
As we continue this series, take some time to go to RightNow Media and watch the I Said This, You Heard That video series. If you’ve taken the assessment, you know all about your own temperament. But to better our relationships, we must learn about the other colors as well.If you haven’t taken advantage of the free RightNow Media resource our church offers, sign-up for it today.

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to be my best self. Help me to use tools like the temperament assessment to be aware of not only my strengths and weaknesses but also to learn how to get better in my relationships. I want to be the person who builds others up with my words, not tears them down. I know I can only do this with you and your help. Thank you for humbling lessons like this one. 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:

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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RightNow Media
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