A Brand New Me

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Have you ever reinvented yourself because you felt lost or maybe you didn’t like who you saw in the mirror, only to have old friends try to make you feel ashamed for changing? Are you currently going through a change to discover the new you and afraid of what people might think?

Commitment is hard.

This past weekend, we witnessed a few people being baptized during the service. Baptism is an outward sign or representation of a commitment that has already been made in the heart to Christ. When you decide to get baptized, you are stepping up in front of the world to show them how serious you are toward God, who has already sacrificed so much to prove his love to you.

Baptism is a bold declaration. As you dive underwater, you are telling the world that you are saying goodbye to your old self.  And as you come out of the water, you are showing the world that you have chosen to live a new life through Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:12-14
12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

With this bold step, there is no need to worry about the people who don’t approve of your new life. As Alicia Keys put it in her song “Brand New Me”:  “If you were a friend, you want to get to know me again. If you were worth a while, you’d be happy to see me smile.” The one who really matters approves—God already gave his blessing.

Questions:
Have you ever made a public declaration of your new life by being baptized? If you haven’t, what is holding you back from taking this step? If you have, are you still committing yourself daily to your union with Christ?

Next Steps:
Consider being baptized this month at your local campus. Visit cedarcreek.tv/baptism to sign-up and receive more information.

If you have already been baptized, take your next step. Dive into your new life with God by joining a group or use your gifts to serve others by joining the DreamTeam. Share your love for God with everyone. Pray for family and old friends who don’t support your walk with Christ.

Prayer:
God, thank you for choosing me before I knew you had. Guide and protect me as I continue to grow through your word. Thank you for giving me the strength to dance out of my grave clothes as I continuously discover new parts of the person I was always meant to be. Grant me patience and understanding when my walk gets hard. Amen.


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


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Who’s On The Throne?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

What delights you? As a self-centered, know-it-all, twenty-something doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to, I was the delight of my heart. I was firmly seated on the throne of my life.

Then I met Jesus. In a seminal moment brought on by a life of bad behavior, I was awakened to the fact that I was circling the drain. I felt like I was lost and on my way to hell. It was then that I told God I was sorry and asked him to forgive me. I knew he sent Jesus to save me from my pride and arrogance—and what they would cost me for eternity if I didn’t turn myself over to his care.

At that moment, I became a new creation through Christ. Over time, I developed a desire to know all about God and what mattered to him.  Instead of delighting in money, possessions, and the approval of others, I wanted my life to align with God’s will. He became the center of my life. What delighted me changed from me-centered to God-centered. Life became about the joy, friendship, and wonder of being held in his hands above everything else. Now, my delight is based on drawing closer to God, who loves me unconditionally and wants to know me personally. The desires of his heart have become mine.

I realized he was responsible for all the good things, experiences, and people in my life, not luck or anything I engineered. Then I stopped taking credit for the intelligence, passions, and athleticism he had gifted me with and acknowledged they were intended for his purposes. So far so good. But here’s the hardest truth to embrace because it is so painful—even devastating—he taught me that the struggles, losses, failures, tragedies, and disappointments in my life were gifts too. In other words, what others meant for harm, God used for good.

Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

What a relief to learn that the bad things weren’t punishments or a sign that God had somehow “dropped the ball.” Rather they were lessons, permitted by God, to teach me things I refused to learn any other way. It has been through life’s hardest times that I have experienced my closest moments with God and learned that serving him is my greatest purpose. He is the delight of my life and serving him, not myself, delights me most of all.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about the difference between delighting in and being delighted by something. I’m delighted by riding bikes down a country road on a sunny day or hiking up a mountain to marvel at the views with my husband. I am delighted by greeting the people who come for fellowship and to worship God at the Whitehouse Campus. But I delight IN the Lord. Ben described it as being pliable, and in the hands and care of the Lord. Delighted by something indicates we are in control. Delighting in God means he is at the center of who we are in all things. Such a change in perspective will have a miraculous effect on what delights you.

Questions:
Are you pliable in God’s hands? If not, why?

Which of the delights in your life would you be better off without?

Next Steps:

  1. Read Psalm 37 and then Psalm 139.
  2. Replay Ben’s message this week and drink it in deeply. Ask God for a deeper understanding.
  3. If you are ready to delight in God then acknowledge your sins to him, ask for forgiveness, and embrace Christ as the one true Savior who makes our relationships with God possible.

Prayer:
Lord, you are worthy of our delight. Not just because of what you have done but because of who you are. We can find delight in you, not just today, but for eternity. Today, I praise you and choose to delight in you. I love you and thank 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.


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


Ugh! I bet! Interesting.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There’s a video online of a woman sitting outside with her guitar, ready to record herself playing a song. As she’s about to start, we hear her neighbor in the background tell her, “I got poison ivy!” The woman removes her hand from her guitar and responds with a genuine, “Noooo.” The neighbor starts going into detail about where the poison ivy has affected her and where she thinks she got it. The woman with the guitar reflects the neighbor’s concern with a series of responses like, “Ooooffpphh!”; “Ugh!”; “I bet”; and “Interesting!” She pairs them with shocked facial expressions to show her investment in the conversation, even though we viewers know she would really like to get back to her music.

We’ve all had those conversations. We enjoy our neighbors, but we also know exactly what to say to keep things from getting too personal, maintaining a boundary that guarantees an acceptable endtime to the smalltalk.

During his weekend message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder described viewing God as merely a friendly neighbor: He is present. (He lives right there and lets me borrow sugar in a pinch.) He is personal. (We can share our poison ivy woes with him.) And he is pleasant. (We smalltalk without investing too much.) While these adjectives are true, they don’t paint the whole picture. And if we only see God as present, personal, and pleasant, we’re missing out on a deep, meaningful relationship with him.

Psalm 139: 1-4, 13, 16-17           
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

This is not describing a neighborly relationship. This is intimate. God already knows you on a deep level. But one-way relationships with people often don’t work, so why do we allow our relationship with God to be one-sided? We love to receive from him and for him to know us. But for an intimate relationship, it means we have to get to know him, as well. The more you know Jesus, the more you’ll love him. The more you love him, the more you’ll want to follow him. When you follow him, you’ll become more like him. And as a result, you’ll become who God made you to be!

Questions:
Indicators of a neighborly approach to God are keeping it casual, not depending on him, and trying to remain in control. Have you experienced distance and detachment from approaching God as a friendly neighbor? What can you do to transition from a neighborly relationship with God to an intimate one?

Next Steps:
When reading Scripture about Jesus, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know for sure about Jesus after reading this?” As you build a habit of doing this, you’ll find your focus shifting from “How do I apply this to my life?” to “Wow, Jesus is so much more complex than I thought. I can’t wait to know him more!” You’ll find yourself growing more intimate with Jesus. My small group started doing this each week, and we are reading The Jesus-Centered Life by Rick Lawrence, which talks more about this approach. I highly recommend it!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being patient with us as we navigate this world and our relationship with you. We want to know you, and for you to know us. One of our biggest struggles in this world is feeling like we’re not understood, but you get us. You know us inside and out, and you still love us! Thank you for your love and for your grace. Help us to seek an intimate relationship with you. Amen.


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


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media


Delighting Hard

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There are many messages we hear in life about working hard:

  • “The only place where SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the dictionary.” —Vidal Sassoon
  • “Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.” —Tim Notke, basketball coach
  • “I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe.” —Margaret Thatcher

While these quotes may motivate us to work harder in our careers, in school, or in competition, they don’t apply to our relationships with God. Some people see God as a boss, and if God is the BOSS, then we must work harder to please the boss. It can be overwhelming trying to be “good enough” and doing all the right things. We can even become obsessed with NOT doing wrong things.

However, God is not worried about whether we are good enough or if we’re doing enough good. Through Jesus, we ARE enough. God wants us to delight in him because HE is enough.

Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.

God doesn’t say “work harder” or “do better,” he says delight in me. It’s amazing how our view of God is transformed by this way of thinking.

What does it mean to delight in God?

When we seek God first, before anything (see Matthew 6:33), everything else seems to fall into place. Our desires become his desires. Our focus becomes his focus. Our hope, our goals, our delight is in him, his way, and even the desires of our heart get molded into Christ-like desires.

It is exhausting to work, work, work and never feel good enough. And, if work is the goal, we often feel disappointed, resentful even, when things don’t go our way after all we’ve done. Jesus didn’t die for us so that we could work harder. Instead he said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Psalm 46:10 tells us: “Be still, and know that I am God!” Other versions of the Bible interpret this same verse as “stop fighting” or “cease striving” and know. Are we striving to please God because we view him as our boss? Because what he wants for us is to be still and delight in him. Now, that’s a great boss!

Work harder? NO. DELIGHT in HIM. That’s the recipe for a successful, abundant life.

Questions:
Do you view God as a BOSS, as someone you need to continually please? How can delighting in him shift this thought process?

Next Steps:
Stop striving to do and be all you can to please God. Take some time away from it all today, to be still. Simply delight in who God is. Rest in the work that he has done through his son, Jesus. Conclude your time by journaling your gratitude to God for all he is and for all HE has done.

Prayer:
God, we thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus, your son, to die for us. There is nothing we can do on this earth that can compare to the work he has done. Help us to rest and delight in you. Help us to be still and KNOW that you are a loving, kind, and good God. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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.


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


Gracious Gifts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Our series, Summer Side of Life, has taught us that life is best when you can relive meaningful moments by seeing, marking, and sharing them. During his weekend message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder helped  to equip us so that we might have meaningful moments with God.

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Ben encouraged us to view God as “The Good Gift Giver” and to delight in him by delighting in what he has given us. We generally think of a gift as something given to us, without condition, rather than something that has to be earned.

How we respond to the giving of  a gift often depends on who we receive it from and if that gift is of any practical use to us. God’s gifts may not look like the presents you opened on Christmas last year, but they will be exactly what you need, when you need it.

In Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, we see God’s gifts that are available to all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
12 So I concluded there is nothing better to do than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

This weekend, Ben encouraged us to list the things that we find delightful.  Often, It’s the simple things in life that bring us joy—like eating a great meal, sipping your favorite cocktail, celebrating with friends, and enjoying the work we do. Ecclesiastes tells us that all of these are gifts from God!

Yet often instead of finding delight, we look around and wonder why we don’t have what someone else has. This causes us to miss out on this gift of God. However, when we learn to be happy with what we have rather than constantly looking for bigger and better things, we can begin to delight in God, the good gift giver.

We have the gift of finding contentment in what we have, the gift of God’s Word, the gift of grace, forgiveness of our sins, eternal life, answers to our prayers. God has given us all these gifts and more.

We all have the choice of whether to accept these gifts, but we are told in Romans 11:29: “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.” In another translation it says our gifts are irrevocable. This shows us where God stands: He will not withdraw his offer of gifts. He will not change his mind. God’s love, that agape love, is unconditional. No matter what we do, his love surrounds us, protects us, and nothing will stop him from loving us. He truly is a good gift giver and we can find delight in him.

Questions:
How do you view God? What gift are you longing for today? Do you long for friendship with God? Do you just need to know that he is with you?

Next Steps:
Thanking God for what he’s already given us is a way for our hearts to be receptive to what he will give us in the future. Life is better when we acknowledge what God is doing in our lives and thanking him for his love. Pray and thank him for all that he has given to you. Celebrate his love and open your heart to receive all that he longs to give you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I take this moment to reflect on all the good gifts that you have given me in my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit opens my heart to receive all the gifts you have in store for me and that I might recognize how you are working in my life. Amen.


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


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

Click Here


More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media