Let Go and Let God!

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This past weekend, Sarah talked about the opposite of surrender. She talked about an issue so many of us deal with. The issue of being a control freak, or more nicely put a “control expert.” I have to admit, I tend to like to control stuff (Maybe you do too?), but I’m not crazy about the word “freak.” I definitely prefer “expert.”

Although, “freak” makes me think of the musical, The Greatest Showman, written about P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Barnum & Bailey circus. Barnum was the penniless child of a tailor but had the imagination and vision to create “show business.” He searched for those that society had labeled “freaks” and transformed them into “The Greatest Show on Earth.” He knew he couldn’t change the appearance of the performers, but he could probably change society’s opinion of them.

In Barnum’s adventure to make his dreams come true, he encountered pushback from many in society. He didn’t let that stop him from his dreams though. He pushed forward, solved problems, and failed at times, but he continued chasing his dream.

There is freedom in stepping in and doing what we can, but we all have situations that are beyond us. Beyond our education or expertise. Beyond our ability to manipulate. In those situations, we need to surrender what is beyond our control. In Barnum’s case, he surrendered and allowed others in his life to step in and help. (At least in the movie portrayal.) As a Christian, we need to also surrender control to God.

During her weekend message, Sarah Bucher spoke about understanding the difference between knowing if it’s ours to control or God’s alone. Another way to ask this is, “Have I done all I can?”

You may have heard of the “Serenity Prayer.” It is a prayer of surrender and emphasizes Sarah’s points.

“Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr (emphasis added)
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

When we face difficult circumstances in life, let’s learn all we can about it. Let’s Google it! Let’s use it. Let’s get counsel. Let’s pray about it. Let’s lead ourselves well, our families well, our teams well. Throughout it all though, let’s give it to God, and when we have done all we can, let’s get out of God’s  way and surrender it to him. Let Go and Let God!

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

Questions:
What have you surrendered to God, knowing you cannot change it?

Where have you stepped up and had the courage to change something?

Where have you had the wisdom to let go and let God?

Next Steps:
Tell God what you need and thank him for all the things he has done.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me surrender to you and not be a control freak! Help me understand that happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ. Thank you for loving me and teaching me! 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 four grandsons.


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God’s Got This

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During the weekend message, Sarah Bucher shared some practical ways to surrender ourselves to God by “requesting, releasing, and receiving” from him. God loved us when we were yet sinners, and his desire for us is to surrender our lives to his love and will.  Unfortunately, we resist turning over that false sense of control we all love so much, even to God.

As we go through life, many of us depend on certain things or people to find our purpose, happiness, satisfaction, and peace. Clinging to these false earthly saviors (idols) are pointless and cannot provide the true love we long for. The love only God can give us.

Jesus gives us an example of this on the night he was betrayed by Judas. He knew his Father’s will, and feeling his soul’s anguish, he went off to pray alone.

Luke 22:42
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

This distress did not come from any lack of desire to do the will of God, nor was he a victim to circumstances beyond his control. To Jesus, having obedience to the Father (God) and his divine plan for reconciling God and man was more important than his own desire—avoiding the physical suffering and temporary separation from his Father that would occur when he accepted the sins of the world upon himself.

1 Timothy 2:5       
For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.

So Jesus opened his hands in full surrender and placed the situation completely under God’s control, knowing that God’s perfect will can be trusted. God’s got this!

Jesus received supernatural strength in his time of weakness in order to receive God’s plan. When we open our hands in surrender, God fills them up with his strength, peace, and presence. He gives us everything we need.

Because we live on this side of heaven, pain is a part of our story, even as it was for Jesus. In Romans 8:28 we read, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” When you trust in God, you can trade your fear for freedom and confidently rest in your surrender to him.

Proverbs 3:5-6    
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Jesus’ example teaches us to make our request to God and release our own desires to receive God’s plan. The good in Jesus’ story was that his surrender redeemed the whole world, providing a bridge for us to God.

Psalms 84:11
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Questions:
Do you want to know and do God’s will for your life? Can you take the step to surrender your will today? What’s holding you back from giving up control and trusting in God?

Next Steps:
You can search all your life, but you will never find what you are looking for outside of God. So, raise your hands and surrender your life and your will to him today.

Prayer:
Father God, you love us so much that you sent the only one who could save us from our sinful nature to pay the price demanded for our choosing sin and self over you—Jesus Christ—the perfect Lamb of God, the flawless sacrifice for our sins. Please forgive me, Lord, for playing god. Help me to release my own grip from my problems and plans and turn them over to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Seek, Surrender, and be Steadfast

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I met my best friend in high school, but we weren’t best friends until years later. In high school, we hung out with a lot of the same people and had some fun times (sleepovers, going to dances, etc.), but it wasn’t until college that our friendship really grew. We didn’t go to the same university, but what time we spent together was meaningful. We played catch-up via phone calls (landline phones, ha!) and eventually email. We got to a point that no matter how much time had passed since seeing one another, we could pick up right where we left off. Our friendship was, and is, deep.

In our 20s, our friendship was vital as we walked through a very painful season together following her husband’s death from cancer. Because of the trust and love we had built over the years, she was able to share honestly about her struggles with losing her spouse, especially at such a young age. Since then, she is the one (besides my husband) with whom I can fully share the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY of life without judgment. And to this day, we still talk each other out of pits, point each other to Christ, and have some fun along the way.

She is my best friend, and I trust her.

This week, we have talked about surrender. In order to surrender to someone, you need to trust them. It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know. And while Tonya is my best friend, my bestest friend is God. I learned a lot about God for 24 years, but May of 1997 is when I surrendered to him.

The first step of being on the adventure with God is knowing him. If you don’t know God or anything about him, I encourage you to “seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7 NIV). He’s not hiding but actually wants a relationship with you. In fact, the Bible says “come close to God, and God will come close to you” (James 4:8). Go to a church service or attend online. Start reading the Bible (the book of John is a good place to start) to know him more.

If you already know about God, maybe it’s time to surrender.

  • Believe that “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
  • Declare that “Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” and “you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
  • Give up your way and seek to follow HIS way. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2).

Finally, if you’ve known God for a while, continue steadfastly and give yourself “completely to God” (Romans 6:13). Just like I got to know Tonya more intimately over the years, the more time and effort you take to know God, the more you can trust him. “Those who know your name trust in you” (Psalm 9:10).

This is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” (John 17:3).

Questions:
Do you know God? What steps can you take to know him more?

Next Steps:
The more time you spend with someone, the better you will get to know them. Carve out time to spend with God. If this is not a daily habit for you already, start with a doable commitment (reading this LivingItOut Bible Study every day, for example). If you’ve known God for a while now, take steps to know him more. Spend time studying the Word, talk with him in prayer, and surround yourself with others that are also seeking to know him more. As you know God more, you’ll be on a path of finding freedom, discovering your purpose, and making a difference in lives around you.

Prayer:
Dear God, I want to know you more. As I walk along the path of knowing you more, increase my faith and help me to trust you. God, I surrender myself and my way to you. Help me to know you more and give myself completely to you. In Jesus’ name, amen. (P.S. I pray that my daughter’s wedding goes well this weekend and that you’re glorified throughout their wedding day and in their marriage.)


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.


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Let God Be God

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I loved the weekend message! Sarah Bucher did an amazing job. I laughed when Sarah modified the title “control freak” to “control expert” because she thought control expert had a much better connotation. It may very well sound better, but the reality is that control experts drive others and themselves crazy.

I know this because I am a recovering control expert. (My loving husband just told me I’m still a control freak. He will be punished!) When things aren’t going the way I think they should, I try to “fix” it. I usually end up getting stressed and irritable. It seems like the more I try to control things, the more I feel like I am hitting my head against a brick wall. I wish I would learn that controlling and manipulating only tend to worsen the situation. I remember reading somewhere that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome—GUILTY!

The last several months have been a real eye-opener about how much control we truly have in our lives. COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, the economy, violence, and political unrest have rocked our world. I have spent a lot of time pondering, worrying about, and trying to solve these difficult issues. I wish I could say I was successful. Instead, I feel tired and overwhelmed.

When it comes to trying to control aspects of life, Sarah encouraged us to ask the questions:

Is it worth it?
Is it mine to control?
Is it God’s alone?

Using these questions as a filter to deal with life’s issues could save us from unnecessary worry and anxiety and lead to peace and rest in the midst of difficult circumstances.

1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.Sarah defined surrender as trading fear for freedom. God can handle all our worries and anxieties. Jesus wants us to surrender everything to him. He does not want us to be burdened. He wants to give us rest and freedom.

Matthew 11: 28 and 30
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. … 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

When you are overwhelmed and feel the need to control and fix things—pause, take a deep breath, and pray. Ask God to give you faith that he is in control and that he has a perfect plan. You need to trust that God is God, and then you need to totally surrender your burdens (real or imagined) to him.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

I praise God that he is in control. I don’t have to fix anything—I just need to trust him and surrender to him because Jesus came to give us life in abundance.

Please make the decision to let God be God.

Questions:
What things do you try to control? What do you need to surrender to God?

Next Steps:
Read and meditate on Psalm 23. Journal the ways God has provided for you. Praise God for these blessings and reflect on them during difficult times.

Prayer:
God, I praise you that you are such a loving God. Help me to cast all my cares on you. I am so grateful that you have a perfect plan and I can trust you. Jesus, I praise you that you came so that I may have life in abundance. Help me to surrender my fears to you and live in your total peace, joy, and hope. 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.


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Let it Go (Not you, Elsa.)

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I absolutely LOVE the TV show Friends. I most definitely identify with Monica! I have a need to know that things are being done correctly and are going in the right direction. I like to be in (cue the dramatic music) … control.

Having control makes me feel as though I have a little power over how things turn out—letting go of that control is a tiny bit scary for me. For instance, before becoming a stay-at-home wife and mom, it was hard for me to let my husband take the lead in providing for our family. I was afraid that if I let him be “in control,” everything would go wrong—we would suffer financially, and our marriage would crumble. After a lot of prayer and God’s amazing intervention, I have been happily unemployed for three years, and it has been a tremendous blessing not only for me but also for our entire household.

Fear is rooted in the idea of surrender. Letting go and allowing someone else to take the reins is not an easy task for many of us.  As a parent, it is not easy to allow our children to make their own decisions. As a spouse, it is not easy to allow our mates to take on tasks that they may have never done before! Likewise, moving in an uncomfortable direction out of obedience to the Lord isn’t an easy thing either.  Releasing our grip on anything can cause serious anxiety and fear. But God has given us assurance when we do!

Job 23:14
So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny.

Jeremiah 29:11
“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.”

God has remarkable plans for us, but we have to surrender to him for his plans to unfold in our lives. Over the next few days in the LIO, we will examine what it looks like to surrender.

Questions:
How does the idea of surrendering your control to God make you feel? What has the Lord asked you to surrender for him?

Next Steps:
Ask the Lord to prepare your heart for surrender. Study the Gospels and search for a devotional on the topic to learn why surrender is so important and how to achieve it.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for surrendering for us! Thank you for giving us your word to teach us how to surrender to you. Open our hearts to be more sensitive to your desire and to allow us to see that your plans are always perfect! In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by TreVe Carter. TreVe is a housewife. She loves taking care of her two daughters and Mother. When’s she is not beating her husband in Jeopardy, she serves at Cedar Creek on Brew Crew. She loves Jesus. She also loves to cook and bake and one day would love to compete on the Holiday Baking Championship.


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Large and in Charge

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In 1992, a friend told me, “I look at it this way … someone has to be in charge, so why not me?”

My internal response was, “Great thought, I should do that. I’m smart and motivated.” Add that to my people-pleaser habit, and you have a controlling adult. I will gleefully take charge in any situation then constantly worry that if something doesn’t turn out right under my watch, people will dislike or judge me. Their negativity becomes my fault. My failure.

I have learned that is a lie. There are things I cannot influence, manipulate, or change to save myself or others from pain, fear, and failure. It is actually a good thing when we come to the end of ourselves. At that moment, great weight can be lifted from us if we give our troubles to the one whose pure motives and power surpass all others.  His name is Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Referencing Mark 4:35-41,  Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner explained we aren’t alone with this need for control to prevent fear. Even the disciples who were in the presence of Jesus for three years struggled. When a fierce storm battered their boat in the Sea of Galilee while Jesus slept in the stern, they were terrified!  It was out of their control, and they were sure they would die.

Had Jesus not taught and demonstrated to them, repeatedly, that nothing was above his authority? Yet there they were, yelling at the Son of God to wake up and save them. Did he lecture them about how faithless they were? No. In one sentence, he calmed them and the storm, “Silence! Be still!” (Mark 4:39). Then as a means of clarification for his little band of believers he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? (Mark 4:40).

What a wakeup call! Do you need a wakeup call?

Don’t let your need to control circumstances and people place you in a mindset of fear. The Creator of the Universe holds your life, now and forever, in his hands. Stop leaning on your own understanding. Instead, “‘Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’ The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10-11).

To be our best, we need rest and peace, not control. Jesus put it this way:

Matthew 11:28-30
28 … “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Questions:
Look at your behavior honestly and ask, “Am I playing God in my life and/or the lives of others?”

How is that working for you?

Next Steps:
Ask God to forgive you for trying to take his place of authority in your life and the lives of others.

Grow your faith by putting time with God first every day. The discipline is life changing.

Go to the CedarCreek.tv/groups page and  join a Bible study group or a service group and grow your understanding that our true work is to serve. God’s work is to love, guide, and go with us through it all.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for forgiving and saving me from the wages of sin. Please help me to draw nearer to you and to stop trying to be the master of my destiny. Teach me that you are the way, the truth, and the life, and the one who calls me to be together forever with you through the work of my savior, Jesus Christ. In his name, I bring this prayer to you. 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.


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Be Still

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During the weekend message Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner said that our stress may be an indication of where we trust God the least. Nowhere is that more evident, I believe, than in our refusal to rest. The statistics Shawn presented were pretty shocking! Americans take less vacation time than at any point over the last 40 yrs, and according to Glassdoor, 61% of employees work during vacation.

Those of us as old as I may remember a real concern some 50 years ago when we were told all the “time-saving inventions” were going to reduce our work week to 15-20 hours—what were we going to do with all our leisure time? Pretty funny, right? All that our modern conveniences have provided us with is the opportunity to work and/or be available 24/7. Addicted to stress, we cannot stop checking our phones, our emails, our social media pages for the next crisis, whether it has anything to do with us or not!

This is not now, nor was it ever, the will of our Father in heaven! He who spoke the universe into existence, set aside a day following his creations to rest and enjoy what he had made. But we refuse that opportunity, and if we drill down into why we just won’t rest, I believe the reasons make us uncomfortable.

Maybe one of the top reasons is, “If I don’t seem as frantically busy as everyone else, that might mean I am less valuable or less needed than they are.” Another might be, “Well if I don’t do it, no one will!” (One of my personal faves!) An addendum to that one is, “Well, they might do it, but it won’t be done the way I would do it.” (Which of course is the better, if not the absolute right way!) And another might be, “I’m going so fast, I don’t know what I could possibly let go of, even though I’m not sure what I’m doing with any of them!”

Jesus says:

Matthew 11:28-29
28 … “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and my burden is light.”

He asks us to trust him with the weight that we carry. He wants to walk beside us and share in our burdens. We matter to him because we are created individually as God’s children in his image.

We must not derive our personal value from what the world says about us, or about what we spend our time doing in obedience to God’s call on our lives. He asks us to be still, and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10). He tells us to give all our worries and cares to him—because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Let us turn to him, be still, and trust him.

Remember, to be at your best, you need to rest!

Questions:
Can you identify areas of your life in which you are not trusting God? How can you make time to be still and hand those areas over to the God of the universe?

Next Steps:
Write down the three things that stress you the most. Spend some time thinking about what you can do about them. Write down the steps you can take to resolve them. Pray and ask God to help you create a plan and put it into action. Share with friends or family how you will implement your plan and ask them to help you. Trust that Jesus will share your burden and give you rest.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know it is not your plan for me to be stressed out and anxious. You say I should be anxious for nothing, but some days, maybe most days, I am. Teach me to be still in your presence. Help me to feel your peace wash over me. Show me how to trust that you love me and you have my back. Let me rest in the confidence that you work all things together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose, even though I cannot see how that could possibly ever happen. I choose to trust you. 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.


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Acknowledge Who God is and What He Can Do

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This past weekend, Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner discussed that “To Be Your Best, You Need To Rest.” Rest is found in the presence of God, not the absence of the storm.

Life can feel like the moving steps of an escalator going down when you are trying to achieve an upward step in your life. Always striving to reach your goal but never getting anywhere, running ourselves down physically and mentally.

In Psalm 46:10, we are called to be still and know that he is God. God calls us to cease our panic and know him intimately. When we are still, we begin to know and experience the power of God.

It’s easy to be fearful when things aren’t going well or when we are faced with challenges and conflict in our lives.

Matthew 11:28
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Sometimes we just need to open our eyes, step back, stop what we’re doing, and acknowledge who God is and what he can do. This helps to provide comfort and peace in the middle of our struggles.

Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

He is our refuge from the storms of life and our shelter in the midst of our suffering. His purpose will never fail, and he will be glorified throughout the whole earth.

We are to rest in the knowledge that he is our faithful God and supreme creator of all. Our LORD is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounds in loving kindness. He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), omnipotent (all-powerful), holy, sovereign, faithful, infinite, and good.

The more we understand God who God is and his character, the more we will grow in the area of trusting him. When we surrender ourselves to God, we will find peace even when our life seems overwhelming and out of control. Hope will always sustain us in our darkest hour.

Romans 15:13
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Questions:
What does it look like to be still? Are we capable of being still? Has COVID-19 helped us relearn how to slow down? At what times do you feel most separated from God? How does acknowledging God impact our stillness?

Next Steps:
Today if you are feeling the stress bearing down on you, it is time for you to find your rest in Christ. Ask God to help you stand on his strength. Pray and ask him to come into your life today.

Prayer:
Father, we praise you that your word stands fast forever and that your precious promises encourage us to rest in your love. We pray that your name be exalted throughout the earth and that all the nations will KNOW that you are God. This we ask in the name of Jesus, amen.


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Peace During the Storm

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The dictionary has more than 14 definitions for “rest,” ranging from the rest of sleep, which can be a noun or a verb, to a break in musical notation. While there are many definitions of rest, they all have one thing in common—cessation from something.

We as Americans hate the idea of rest. We fill our days with as much as we can and then work into the nights. Weekends are for catching up on everything we couldn’t cram into the previous five days. We cannot step away from our digital devices because something might happen that needs our attention. We go to sleep with our phones by our beds because “they are our alarm clocks,” but in reality, we need the security that they provide us. Busy is comfortable, rest is not. I’m not sure if Jesus would have a smartphone today if he were walking among us, but I do know that it would not be parked beside his head at night.

During the weekend message, Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner gave us a picture of true rest. Jesus was not afraid of work. He spent much of his life traveling the countryside teaching and ministering to the needs of the masses. Every time he tried to get away, people found him and wanted something from him, and he helped them. So when Jesus and his disciples finally escaped into the solitude of the Sea of Galilee, he fell fast asleep. While Jesus slept, a fierce storm arose and his disciples feared for their lives.

Mark 4:37-38
37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Jesus had such peace and trust in God that he was able to fully rest in the midst of a raging storm. When the disciples finally woke him, he commanded the storm to quiet and also quieted their hearts.

Mark 4:39-40
39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Jesus asks us the same thing. “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” When the storms rage in our lives, where do we turn? Do we turn to Christ in faith and rest, or do we scramble to the nearest screen to see what the Google gods have for us today? Do you allow the chaos of our hyperconnected world to set the pace for your life, or can you step back and unplug? Can you make it through a whole day without checking your email or social media? The term Sabbath has connotations of strict absence from all things fun, but it still holds value for us today. God commanded his people to take a literal Sabbath. It wasn’t because he wanted to burden them with more rules, it was so that they, and we, could learn to rest and trust. When we set aside time to rest, we are telling God that we trust him to meet our every need. Our time is precious, and by resting we demonstrate our complete dependence on God.

Questions:
How do you find rest? How much time do you allow yourself to unplug from the world around you and trust that God will take care of you? When you feel anxious, where do you turn first? Technology or prayer?

Next Steps:
Take a technology Sabbath. Choose a day and don’t check your email or social media. Make it a habit. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, turn off your screen and go outside. Breathe. Look around, and listen to the signs of life God has placed in your world.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting us into your rest. Thank you for the example of Jesus resting in perfect peace while the storm raged around him. Help us set aside our distractions and find true rest in you. Give us the strength and courage to step back from the frenzied pace of culture and find our peace in you. 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!


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Be Your Best

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This past February, my wife asked me if I thought we should enroll our oldest daughter in another activity. As I began to contemplate her questions, I felt tension about how to answer her. On the one hand, I want to give my daughter great opportunities to learn new things and possibly discover something that will become her passion. On the other hand, I felt the pull to slow down and create space for us to be home as a family. And to be honest, I was exhausted from always having to be somewhere. I needed rest!!!

In the end, my wife and I never really had to decide whether or not to sign her up for that next activity. We didn’t have to choose because COVID-19 arrived, and along with it came plenty of opportunities to be home.

Through this season of being home, many have found blessings in our new routines. Families have been forced to slow down, allowing them to be together. For the first time in a long time, many families share meals, take walks, and have meaningful conversations. Individually, we have had time to do the things that we have been putting off. Garages are being organized, home repairs are being completed, Bibles are being read, people are getting in shape, and many are trying to better themselves in one way or another.

Probably the biggest blessing has been that all of the activity and busyness has been stripped away. We have reconnected with what matters. This slowdown in our schedules, and new understanding about what is important, has been a great step toward gaining the rest many of us need. But to truly experience rest, it takes more than slowing down our lives.

This weekend, Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner shared that if we want to find rest, we need to “let go.” We need to surrender our schedules, our work, our families, and our lives to God. It is only then that we will truly find rest.

Over the next four days, the LivingItOut will focus on what it means to let go and trust God. Having rest in your life is possible. And it is important because when you find rest, you will be at your best. You will be able to show up at your work, in your homes, and in your communities ready to make a difference in the lives of those closest to you.

Matthew 11:28
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Questions:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how rested do you feel? Why?

How does your schedule this summer compare to last summer?

What has slowing down, revealed or taught you about life?

Next Steps:
Commit to reading the next four days of the LivingItOut.

Begin praying about the areas in your life that you need to surrender to God.

Memorize Matthew 11:28 and Psalm 46:10.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, you are all that I need. When I am tired, I can find rest in you. Help me this week to identify areas that I am holding onto and need to surrender. You are trustworthy and able to carry anything that I lay at your feet. I praise your powerful and holy name. Amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of 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

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RightNow Media