The Most Significant Moment

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In our new series, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder takes us to the book of Joshua in which God chose Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to the land God promised them. Some of you may be thinking that you don’t care about all those “Old Testament rules,” so this doesn’t have anything to do with you, right? However, Ben transitioned to a couple thousand years later and discussed John the Baptist, baptizing people in the Jordan River (Mark 1:4-5). We were reminded that the God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New Testament. The Israelites had strayed from God since their journey across the Jordan River, and John was calling them to turn back to God. God is always faithful to keep his promises!

Matthew 3:6
And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

At the time John was baptizing the Israelites, they were mentally going back to the moment God led their ancestors across the river. They were acknowledging they had lost their way since then and were recommitting to follow God. It was a new beginning.

Remember Ben’s bottom line? “Life is better when you can relive meaningful moments.” Jesus recognized the importance of marking moments and reliving them. He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and designated John as the greatest man who had lived until his time (Matthew 11:11). They were cousins in the flesh—John would recognize Jesus and see with his own eyes the one he had been proclaiming.

Matthew 3:13-15
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” 15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.

In Jesus’ final words to his disciples, he gave the great commission, including the command for baptism. This was a call for followers of Jesus to mark their moment and relive what Jesus did on the cross for us. Baptism is both a picture of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. It signifies our life of sin dying and our new life in Jesus beginning.

Matthew 28:19-20
19 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Questions:
Are you spending regular time searching the Old and New Testaments for truth and direction? What times in your life do you consider to be “wilderness wanderings”? What valuable lessons did you learn during those times of struggle?

Next Steps:
God gave the Bible to us because he wants us to know him, love him, and serve him. Most of all, he gave it to us so we can become more like Christ. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Only then will you be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8). Make the Bible part of your life, join a Group, be a DreamTeam member—begin today.

Fill out the Friday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example and command of baptism. It teaches us the importance of marking the significant moment of salvation in our lives. It also shows us the importance of sharing this moment with others. Help me this week to be bold and share my meaningful moments with others and to point others to you whenever I have the chance.


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


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Been Nudged?

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Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s bottom line for last weekend’s message was, “Life is better when you can relive meaningful moments.”

Memories truly are a gift when you relive them and share them with others! The irony of writing for LivingItOut this week is truly surreal for me as one of my closest friends is struggling with losing her memory. That reality causes me to reflect on countless, meaningful moments shared with her over the years. It is clear to me that God arranged our decades-old friendship—a genuine friendship. I can’t label it as a one-time event with one fabulous photo to share. No, it runs much deeper, as genuine friendships should. Now I have a new mission, one of not taking for granted my ability to remember as I wrestle with navigating this precious friendship with much sensitivity intertwined with genuine love.

One of my memories of my friend is how she used her sewing skills to serve my husband and myself on each mission trip we took to Choluteca, Honduras. She provided us with separate sleeping bags created from king-size flat sheets, keeping us as bug-free as possible while we slept. My husband and I can relive this memory when we talk about it with each other or tell someone else about it. Sharing this memory is a gift to all that hear of her love and service toward my husband and me.

That memory leads to yet another reflection of a meaningful Honduras mission trip moment. While every day on a mission trip to Choluteca is memorable, I’m thinking about our final, full day in Honduras in late October 2014. I had volunteered to lead our morning discussion that day. Off-and-on throughout the week, I pondered about what topic to touch upon scripturally. Ultimately, I leaned into a spiritual nudge from God to pose this question to the team: “What is your “go-to” when your life hits turbulence, similar to that experienced when flying? You know, when the pilot advises everyone to return to their seat and fasten their seatbelt.”

The question generated multiple responses and discussion, leading to me sharing how a book called Fool-Proofing Your Life, written by Jan Silvious, became my go-to as I navigated a very difficult family relationship. It helped me see how God was with me in that “murky” place—the same as he was with the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River, as referenced in Joshua 3:8. God was also ahead of me—the same as he went ahead of the Israelites by parting the waters of the Jordan River.

Indeed, the turbulent events in my life created by an alcoholic family member did not surprise God. He walked alongside me through it, and now it was my story to share. His nudge to share it was likely more for me than my fellow team members. Nonetheless, reliving what God was doing in my life with my team was a gift to all of us.

As you go throughout your day, consider what meaningful moments you have to share with others. And when God nudges you to tell your story—be courageous and do it. God can use your story as a gift to you and others.

Questions:
What event(s) has God allowed to get your attention? What “bad” event(s) has God transformed into “good”? Have you shared these experiences with those closest to you? If not, why?

Next Steps:
Reflect on meaningful moments when God placed specific people onto your spiritual path. Write down the names of three people who have made a positive impact in your spiritual journey. Share the story of how those people made a difference in your life.

Fill out the Thursday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you have been more than generous to me. If you do nothing more for me, I have no right to complain. When I reflect on the countless moments you had your hand on my life before I acknowledged you as Lord, I stand amazed at your goodness! It is impossible to explain the love you offer. No one is worthy of it, yet you freely offer it. I choose to worship you and adore you this day and every day. 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.


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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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There’s Time, and Then There’s TIME

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I have to be honest. Something really stirred in me when Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said, “How can we make summer meaningful?” How many times has summer flown by? Maybe I took a vacation or did a house project, but usually, it’s autumn before I know it. Can you relate to that?

I have concluded that if I am going to have a memorable summer, I need to make the most of my time. But what does that look like? How do I make the most of my time, and more importantly, what does the Bible have to say about it?

First, I’m going to make sure I use the time God has given me—seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. That is chronological time, or in the original Greek “chronos.” It is just the measure given to time. Picture your own personal timeline from birth until today. That is the chronological order of time for your life.

The other Greek term used to measure time is “kairos.” As you’re picturing your chronos timeline, I want you to put a big, RED DOT on the timeline to symbolize a very special moment that you will never forget. That appointed time is what is referred to as a kairos moment—when God interrupts our routine and touches us so deeply that we are forever changed.

Who better to illustrate this difference than Jesus?

Acts 1:6-8
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

In Verses 6 and 7, Jesus is referring to chronos time, but in Verse 8, he is undoubtedly referring to a kairos moment that will forever change the lives of his disciples and the church. That is the difference. There’s chronological time and then there’s a moment like the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost in Acts 2. That’s a really big difference!

My friends, how are we going to make summer meaningful? The simple answer is that we’re going to make an effort to recognize those God-appointed kairos moments in our summer. When someone says, “I was just thinking about you” or “funny you should call” or when you get to spend time with someone you lovethose are God’s invitations to make a kairos memory. Recognize them for what they are—divine opportunities to be a part of God’s will and purpose—and seize the moments!

Let’s use chronos time to make kairos memories and experience God in a very special and powerful way.

Questions:
What is a kairos moment in your life?

What about that memory makes it special to you?

Next steps:
Have a game plan and a mindset going into this summer. Be determined to make the most of the moments you are given. Whether they are with friends, family, or at church—be determined to be in the moment and recognize that God has a will and purpose for your life. Capture the moment by writing it down!

Fill out the Wednesday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, don’t let me miss the special, divine moments you have planned for me. I want to live this life with purpose and make kairos memories. I want to experience your blessings in all of the opportunities put before me. Help me to stay determined. Please grant me the strength I need to seize the moment. Keep my eyes fixed on you, and help me to fight the temptation of allowing time to just slip away. Amen.


This post was written by Mike Bilik. Mike is a father to 3 amazing daughters and one awesome son. Spare time is rare, but given the opportunity, you are likely to find him with friends hiking, hunting, or fishing.


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Do You See What I See?

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It was a cloudless, scorching hot, summer day. I was standing on the edge of my friend’s pool, vacuuming the deep end. And sweating. Across the treeless yard, he was digging out weeds. For no reason at all and without turning to look at him, I asked, “What do you think is the most important thing about a woman?” Without hesitation he answered, “That’s easy, her faith.” I had never before heard any man say that, and as a woman of faith, it provided the revelation of a lifetime.

God orchestrated that moment to change the trajectory of both our lives. We were married six months later, pledging to be the two weaker strands of the mighty three-stranded cord, with Christ at the center of our lives as described in Ecclesiastes 4:12.

That was last summer.

We all have moments in life that are monumental—for better or for worse. Moments that change who we are and what we do with our lives. So ask yourself:

“What will this summer bring?”

“How can I make it memorable?”

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder gave us a way to do just that. He taught us that we need to become mindful of the moment. We need to see the moment, preserve it, and then share the experience with others.

But how? We are incessantly bombarded with information—our minds flit from one thing to the next in the deluge of our ever-increasing distractions and responsibilities. So how do we focus on the moment at hand? Ben’s advice: “Be here now.”

Since childhood, it’s been the only thing that rescues me from the fall out of ADHD. As an equestrian, trust me when I say, there’s no time to think about anything else when you’re galloping a 1,200-pound horse up to and over a solid wooden or brick obstacle. You stay in the moment.

The same is true for a martial artist. When your opponent is throwing kicks and punches your way, you don’t look away to check your news feed.

In Joshua 3, after taking 40 years to make a three-day trip from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Israelites find themselves in an “exclamation point moment” as the priest’s feet were about to step into the water of the last obstacle between them and the fulfillment of that promise. But instead, God brought the Jordan River to a halt so two million people could cross, simultaneously, to the land he promised to give them so long ago.

Talk about memorable! We need to look for the exclamation point and turning point moments in life and remember them.

Watch for all the times God shows up and offers to change your life, then gives you opportunities to change the lives of others. Be here now, absorb, remember, and pass that moment on for his glory.

Questions:
Do you allow distractions to rule your life? Do you ever truly spend time alone with God? If not, why? What could be more important?

Next Steps:
Every day for a week, put 20 minutes aside to turn off your phone, television, computer, and if possible, even your family members. Try hiding in your bedroom. Sit up straight on your bed or in a chair with your hands resting in your lap. Close your eyes and focus on taking deep slow breaths. At first it will be hard, but at about the 5-minute mark, you should settle in. Then listen for God and ask him to show you his will and his way for your life that day. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving and record the results.

Fill out the Tuesday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, in this world we have made so chaotic, I pray you will teach me to be still. To learn how to truly hear your gentle, small voice and see you in the events of each day you bless me with. Please lead me in how to make my life and choices memorable and valuable to you. In the name of our matchless savior, Jesus Christ, 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 Tuesday evening. 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.


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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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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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It’s a Cruel, Cruel Summer

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Ah. Summer! The crisp hot air, the gentle blue sky. Brightly colored flowers have emerged from the winter soil! And we are all set and ready—to stay home. Cue the wamp-wamp, right?! How do we have a meaningful summer when we feel as if we can’t actually do summer?

My family and I had planned a vacation to Phoenix to visit my sister and her family. We planned to go to water parks, take a drive to California, and maybe visit Las Vegas. It was going to be our first big vacation as a family of four! We were preparing to book a flight just as the country went into the stay-at-home order. Needless to say, many people in our family were very upset. We were on the verge of making great memories!

But why can’t we cultivate meaningful memories right where we are? Lead Pastor Ben Snyder spoke about Joshua and how he allowed God to go before him as they journeyed into the promised land. God is, and has been, going before us as we venture through the new normal. Not only is he ahead of us making way for the plans we would like to do one day, he also follows behind us to encourage us as we step into the many uncertainties of life.

Joshua 3:10 says, “Today you will know that the living God is among you.” I often have to remind myself that even in the chaos, the cancelled plans, and the disappointment, God is with me.

Joshua 1:9
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

As we go through our new normal, are we missing the meaningful moments that are happening right in front of us by being too focused on what we wish we could be doing? Are we missing the opportunity to create something genuine and exciting because we are disappointed? Pastor Ben tells us to not ignore our feelings of disappointment but to not let them drive either.

Romans 5:5
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Ben’s bottom line for the week is: “Life is better when you can relive meaningful moments.”

This week in our daily LIO BibleStudy, we’ll be exploring how to better appreciate the meaningful moments in our lives by seeing them, marking them and reliving them.

Questions:
Do I believe this summer will be great? Why or why not?

How can I recognize “the meaningful” to make the memories?  What are some ways that I can mark the moment?

Next Steps:
Choose a way to capture and share your meaningful memories this summer. Find new activities to try with your family or close friends and create a scrapbook or Shutterfly calendar of the summer that was completely different. Make meaningful memories of the new normal!

Fill out the Monday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for being with us in our new normal. Thank you for going before me, and for following me.  Thank you for giving me so many ways to create new and meaningful memories. In the moments when I miss your work, I ask that your Holy Spirit would help me to slow down, to see through your lens, and to not miss what’s meaningful. And in all things, help me to see you. 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.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Tuesday evening. 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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