Do You Limp? – The Bible is Greek to Me

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Two weeks ago, my wife and I ran a 50-mile trail race in the Rockies. The race started at midnight, and we ran through darkness, mud, streams, mosquitoes, and storms. We climbed and descended mountains and navigated rocky trails, twisting and rolling our ankles countless times.

I was confident when I signed up, but during the race, there were many ups and downs. I wrestled with doubt: Could I really do this? Could I finish? Would I take the wrong path and get lost? Would I get hurt and be unable to continue?

Fifteen hours after we started, we limped across the finish line.

At the finish, other runners milled about dirty, bleeding, limping, and fatigued after hours of wrestling with the same doubt I had experienced. All of us were banged up, but we knew the adventure was worth it. We leaned into our doubts and came away with a unique experience and a deeper understanding of ourselves.

I think our faith is like this. We hear the stories of the victory we have in Jesus and set our sights on the finish line, but sometimes we forget we’re going to get banged up along the way. They’ll be times of joy and peace, but we’ll also wrestle with doubt. We’ll question God and feel it’s wrong or that our faith is weak. But these are actually the times when we are growing closer to him.

The Old Testament tells the story of the nation of Israel. Throughout the story, the people of Israel—God’s chosen people—are in and out of slavery, exile, and the Promised Land. They follow God, they turn away; rinse and repeat. They question, they doubt, they wrestle. It’s in their nature.

It’s in their name.

Genesis 32:24-28
24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 “What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

Jacob walked away from his struggle with God limping, but also with a unique experience and deeper understanding.

I limped across the finish line of my race, but with an incredible experience. And I hope to walk away from this physical life limping because that will mean I truly experienced the adventure Jesus promises us and victory will be that much more satisfying.

Questions:
Are you facing a season of doubt in your faith? If so, what are you doubting?

Do you feel ashamed of your doubt or that it’s wrong? Why or why not?

Have you ever wrestled with God and walked away limping? Describe that experience.

Next Steps:
Make a list of the doubts or questions you have for God. Dig into them: search the Bible app, visit https://bibleproject.com, ask a trusted friend, write about it. Don’t get caught up in seeking an “answer.” Instead, seek a deeper understanding.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for showing us that you want us to be active in our faith, to question you, and yes, even to doubt you. But, Lord, give me the boldness to trust you, even when my human mind cannot understand you. Help me to trust you more completely in these times and to praise you more knowing your understanding far exceeds mine. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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


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Hope – The Bible is Greek to Me

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My daughters are among the greatest blessings of my life. I love and adore them. They are amazing women, whom I often refer to as “my girls.” When my girls are suffering, ill, or hurting, I hurt deeply. I am a momma bear when it comes to them—I have a difficult time forgiving people who hurt them or make fun of them.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder spoke this week about the father of the demon-possessed boy  (Mark 9:14-29). My heart really went out to the father—his son had been suffering terribly since he was a little boy. The boy was possessed by an evil spirit that wouldn’t let him speak. The demon would seize the boy and throw him to the ground, causing him to foam at the mouth. It even tried to kill the man’s son by throwing him in fire and water. The boy suffered physically and emotionally and was very likely ostracized and bullied.

At that time, illness and possessions were thought to be caused by the sin of the parents or child. Can you imagine the pain this man suffered watching helplessly as his child suffered? I imagine the father did everything he could possibly do to help his son. I bet he had given up hope.

Then one day, the father hears about Jesus’ disciples healing people and casting out demons. He starts to hope and takes his son to them. He sees people all around him being healed and finally has hope that his son will be healed. He is overjoyed and excited.

I picture one of the disciples walking up to his son and laying a hand on him. The disciple attempts to cast out the demon and nothing happens. The father is heartbroken and hopeless. He probably believes this was the boy’s last chance to be set free from the demon.

Then Jesus shows up. They have a discussion. Finally, the father asks Jesus:

Mark 9:22b-24
22 “Have mercy on us and help us if you can. 23 What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me in my unbelief.”

I love this. The father is so heartbroken. He wants to believe Jesus can heal his son, yet, he is afraid to have hope. He is desperate and hopeless. He looks to Jesus and humbly asks him, “Help me in my unbelief.”

We will have doubts in this life. We will go through tough times when we’ll question God.

Ben gave us tips on what to do when we have doubts:

  • Stay curious: Ask questions.
  • Stay humble: Trust in God not yourself.
  • Stay faithful: Lean on God during the tough times.

God loves us so much. He wants us to share everything with him, including our doubts. He can take our questions. We can trust him. He is our refuge and strength.

Psalm 62:8 NIV
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Questions:
How do you deal with your doubts about God? How can doubt help your faith grow stronger? How often do you discuss your doubts with God?

Next Steps:
Next time you have doubts go to the Lord in prayer. Admit to God that you have doubts and ask him to help you in your unbelief. Journal what happens.

Prayer:
Lord, I love you so much. I am so grateful that the God of the universe loves me and wants a personal relationship with me. He wants me to come to him with all of my questions and doubts. I praise him that I can lean on him during the tough times and that he is always with me. I know he uses these tough times to increase my trust and faith in him. I praise you for being my refuge and my strength. I trust you and revere you! 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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Why Do You Doubt? – The Bible is Greek to Me

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One of the best parts of growing up was gathering with family and listening to the stories passed down from older generations. Some were far-fetched, but there was always some semblance of truth sprinkled within the sentences. As I grew older, my stories became listening affairs during our holiday celebrations and small reunions. Tales that were less fun in the present carried their weight in gold.

Creating those memories in a time before smartphones and the internet meant you relied on witnesses to back you up. (We didn’t all have camcorders to capture the details.) Our witnesses guaranteed our trustworthiness, even without recorded footage. Many of my stories were about teenagers being teenagers, but the best accounts were about basketball.

My oldest daughter is going into eighth grade and also plays basketball. Naturally, I offered up my sage wisdom throughout her last season, but she never followed my advice. This summer, I finally asked why she chose not to listen. She said, “I don’t believe your basketball glory days happened. Where’s the proof?”

Can anyone doubt you more than a teenager? Apparently, my daughter’s stance is that seeing is believing. And she’s certainly not the only one with this outlook.

John 20:25-27
25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

Thomas, who had once faithfully followed Jesus, doubted what his fellow disciples believed. For Thomas, any future belief would be on his terms. Jesus could’ve demanded Thomas fall in line, but he understood that Thomas had missed out on what the others had witnessed.

John 20:29
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Not everyone is given the unique position to witness the glory of Jesus the way Thomas and the disciples did. This reminds me of the quote by Joseph Solomon.  “I’m not telling you to have a blind faith. I’m telling you to consider the blind men who had faith and believed my words before they were even able to see me.” It’s sometimes easier said than done, but the world is full of true stories of people who believed without seeing.

Questions:
Do you take your questions to God? Are you open to receiving the answers?

Next Steps:
Read your Bible to understand God’s word instead of relying only on what others say about the Bible. Join a Group to experience new seasons with other Christians. Build relationships, and don’t be ashamed to voice your doubts.

Prayer:
Father God, forgive me when I live in my doubts instead of trying to understand the source. Grant me the wisdom to understand the answers to the questions I bring to you. Help me discover new ways to connect with you and revisit the old ways that served me well. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp. Jaron is a storyteller and a professional ghostwriter who enjoys using his gifts to write for the LivingItOut. When he’s not developing fictional worlds, researching, and writing, Jaron enjoys watching sports, participating in family game night, and spending time with his wife and four kids.


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Exercise Your Faith! – The Bible is Greek to Me

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I exercise almost every day. While I love the benefits exercise gives me and trying new types of exercise, my aging body doesn’t always love the day after! I’m not great at warming up or stretching after. So the next day when I have soreness in places I didn’t realize I had muscles, I can associate that new pain with the previous day’s activity—I know the source.

I feel like that is how the tools Lead Pastor Ben Snyder gave us last weekend could work. If I can figure out what’s going on in my spiritual life, there are ways I can deal with it. The thing I know for sure, both about faith in God and exercise (The only two disciplines I possess!), is they are both good. The pain, distress, and challenges will be used for my benefit.

In a desert season, when my routine just isn’t bringing the results I want, I can repeat what I know to be true—my fitness will not improve overnight, nor will my relationship with God. But I know that spending consistent time with both will ultimately reap the rewards I seek.

There are times, though, when I have physically reached the end of my rope and feel depleted. Over the years, I have learned to reduce the level of exercise for a time. I don’t quit; I just don’t hit it so hard. I believe the same is true for my relationship with God. Sometimes, I need an off day to rest and reflect, to do another activity that speaks to me about God’s goodness in a different way.

It is difficult not to be discouraged as we look at the mess our world is in. In these times, reconnect with positive people who encourage you in your journey. They encourage me to keep going even when it’s tough. My Group does that for me spiritually just as exercising with friends keeps me going in a tough workout. When I feel frustrated or disconnected, regularly meeting with this Group always encourages me.

I believe Jesus has called me into a discipleship lifestyle—one where I care for myself physically through exercise and spiritually by spending time connecting with Jesus. As a result, my body and my faith are stronger, and I am capable of running the race God has placed in front of me. I think the writer of Hebrews says it well:

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run the race God has set before us.

Questions:
When you are facing doubt in your spiritual life, do you seek the source of that doubt? Do you ask questions of yourself that might lead to resolution? Do you find someone with whom to share your doubts? Why or why not?

Next Steps:
If you are experiencing doubts about God or your faith, don’t keep it to yourself!

First of all, use a Bible concordance to look up the emotions you are having, and read what God’s word has to say. Give yourself permission to question and seek answers. Be vigorous in your exploration. Invite someone to journey with you and share what you are learning. Memorize Psalm 23.

Prayer:
Abba Father, I am so grateful that you, like a good parent, are not afraid of my questions, fears, and doubts. You come to me as a loving father, cherishing me as I learn more about who you are by asking questions and seeking answers! I also love that there are things that I can never know about you, because you are way, way more than I could ever imagine! You are God, and you are good. In your beautiful name I pray, 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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Remember He is God – The Bible is Greek to Me

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Doubt is sometimes viewed as the opposite of faith, but the truth is that you can have questions and still have faith. In fact, asking questions and being open to the answers can grow your faith tremendously.

In his weekend message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder mentioned five sources of doubt: desert, depletion, discouragement, deconstruction, and disobedience.

  • The Desert is the place God puts us to test our faith. Ben reminded us to repeat what we know to be true to get through the desert.
  • Depletion is the place where you overdo it. To get over the doubt, take time to rest.
  • Discouragement is the place of doubt that comes from hurt. To get through this doubt, reconnect with God and others.
  • Deconstruction is undoing some belief to rebuild what you know now. Take the time to consider thoughtful investigation.
  • Disobedience is when you refuse to do what you ought to do. Come before God in the space of doubt and repent.

Why does this matter? Because it is OK to live in seasons of doubt.

Often, I find myself doubting whether I am able to navigate what’s next. I will graduate college this spring. Thankfully, I have a job to support myself in the meantime, but I am currently dealing with a situation with my employer that I can’t control. I can’t help but think, “Now what?” I don’t know what the next step is.

Ben explained that the two most common reactions to doubts are:

1) To sweep them away, thinking that we can’t ask questions and should just have more faith; and

2) To start demanding answers we understand and like, forgetting that we are under God’s authority.

Neither reaction is right, however. The solution is found in the bottom line: Your question has validity under God’s authority.

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

This verse reminds me I am not God. Faith and questions can coexist. We can ask God questions, but we need to remember that he has ultimate authority. He knows the answers, and we need to trust him with the outcome.

I can see now that I am overworking to figure out the situation with my employer all on my own. I’m depleted, and my efforts aren’t working. Rest is probably exactly what I need to get through my doubt. In resting, I trust God will open the right door.

Questions:
What is your source of doubt?

How do you react to doubt?

What questions of doubt do you have? Why?

Next Steps:
Write down your questions and prayerfully submit them to God.

Take a personal next step to address your source of doubt.

Prayer:
God, you are who you say you are. You are all-knowing. Your ways are higher than my ways, and your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. I do not know what you know, but I have questions. I am dealing with doubt, but it is under your authority. I ask questions because I am being open handed to answers. I pray that despite this season of doubt, it would increase my faith. Amen.


This post was written by Becca Roberts, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut.


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Serve and Encourage Others – The Bible is Greek to Me

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Over the past several days, we have been unpacking the P.A.U.S.E. method as a way to better engage with the Bible. So far, we have looked at Prepare, Ask Questions, and Understand. Today we will examine Serve and Encourage.

Serve—Let God’s word inspire how you love others. To do this, model the behavior of Jesus by loving your neighbors. An action step would be to find one person today and serve them in the spirit of God. The highest level of our journey as Christians is servanthood.

Encourage—We need to be encouraged by God’s word and give God thanks for it. The Bible can be encouraging during difficult times as well as during magnificent times. One way of showing our encouragement is by sharing his word with others who need to hear it.

James 1:22
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Once you’ve committed to hearing the Gospel message or reading the Bible, you aren’t done yet. Jesus is looking for doers and not just hearers of his word. The bottom line from last weekend’s message was God’s word is an inspiration for your transformation.

Romans 12:6-8a
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. … 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. … 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.

Spiritual gifts are not based on merit but, rather, the grace God has chosen to give us. Once we know the spiritual gifts God has given us, we need to use them to serve and encourage others.

Have you attended GrowthTrack? Its goal is to help you understand the spiritual journey and live it out each day by taking steps toward discovering your true redemptive purpose and the abundant life God has for you.

Do you know your gifts? Are you living out your purpose?

Questions:
How often do you read your Bible? Is the Bible Greek to you? Have you considered joining a Group to work through different books of the Bible and discuss what they mean?

What does serving others mean to you? Are you comfortable enough with the Bible to encourage others by sharing God’s word?

Next Steps:
If reading the Bible is something you keep putting off because it is difficult to understand, try reading a different translation (CedarCreek uses NLT, which is very easy to read). Or consider using a different format, like listening to Scripture instead of reading.

If you’re artsy like me, another avenue of staying engaged in the Word is with the use of a coloring or creative journaling Bible. I have found they give me a creative way to journal what a passage is speaking to me. It’s amazing how Scripture comes to life with a little bit of color.

Attend GrowthTrack if you haven’t recently. You’ll discover your spiritual gifts and craft a purpose statement around your personality, place, and passion to determine how you can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me transform my life so that I can experience more. Thank you for sending Jesus as an example of how we are to live. Grant me wisdom to know that you uniquely gifted me to serve and encourage others. Open my eyes so I may see opportunities to use my spiritual gifts. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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Ask Questions to Understand – The Bible is Greek to Me

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Yesterday we discussed how to Prepare for Bible study. Now that you have set aside time, decided on a passage, and asked God to speak to you, the next step is to read.

James 1:1-4
1 This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

The Bible has always been an important part of my life, but for the last five years, my journey with personal Bible study has exploded. I hunger for God’s Word. How did I get here? Here are a couple strategies I have used on this journey. First, it is important to start at the beginning of a book to know where it fits into the bigger picture of the Bible. Before you begin, Ask yourself some basic questions (a good study Bible can help you answer these):

  • Who wrote the book?
  • To whom is it written?
  • When was it written?
  • What type of literature is it (history, poetry, letters, narrative)?
  • Why was it written?

In the above passage, the author is James, Jesus’ brother. He was writing a letter to the Jews scattered throughout the known world. A little research revealed that James was martyred for his faith in AD 62, so the book was written before then. His primary aim in writing the book was to show how to live out your faith as a believer.

Now that we have the basics, let’s Ask a couple deeper questions. For example:

  • What does James mean when he says that troubles of any kind are an opportunity for great joy?
  • What does he mean by the word endurance? Is a different word used in other Bible translations? (The ESV and NIV are good places to look.)

We need to keep going with the text to better Understand what he means. What does the passage tell us about God? What does it tell us about ourselves?

Rejoicing in trials is not natural to us—we usually want to get out of difficult things right away. But if we stop and allow God to speak through the passage into our hearts, he’s telling us that by enduring our trials and standing firm, we will grow in our faith and maturity as believers.

Bible study is challenging, but it is very rewarding. I have found that interacting with the same ancient text that believers 2000 years ago did is life-giving. Think about it, you are hearing the very word of God, which is powerful and active. You will find that the more you read, the more you want to read.

The hardest part is just starting.

Questions:
What is your biggest reason for not reading the Bible consistently? What barriers do you need to remove so that you can make time to engage in real Bible study?

Next Steps
If you have not settled on a passage of Scripture to read, consider the Book of James. It’s short and practical. Work through the first chapter a paragraph at a time. Use the above format to guide your study. If you get stuck, don’t give up. Look for a Group this fall to engage in Bible study with others.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to join with believers throughout the centuries to grow in my faith through the Bible. Give me a hunger to read and meditate on the truth found in Scripture. Help me know the right questions to ask and give me a heart to understand. Thank you for revealing yourself to those who seek 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.


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Prepare to be Amazed – The Bible is Greek to Me

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I often prepare myself to be disappointed. I create a backup plan when I try a new food—just in case I don’t like it. I hesitate to read the next book in a series—afraid it won’t be as good as the previous one. I often throw in a “but your will be done” when I pray so that I won’t feel let down if God doesn’t answer with a “yes.”

When we prepare ourselves to be let down by God, we prevent ourselves from seeing his plan unfold in our lives. We tell ourselves he is no longer performing the miracles he did long ago, or that he only answers the prayers of the most perfect people.

John 5:17
But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.”

“Prepare the Way” by Bethel Music

We’ve heard the revival stories
Or ancient and old time glory
Spirit of God, come do it again.
Miracle-working power
Moving in Signs and wonders
Spirit of God, come do it again.
Prepare the way, He’s coming through
Ready or not, our God’s on the move
We’re gonna see, Heaven on Earth
Come Holy Spirit, awaken Your church.

God did incredible miracles long ago. And—he is doing amazing works now. He will continue to provide signs and wonders until all of the things that disappoint us, the hurt, sorrow, and pain are gone forever.

Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

More often than not, I am blown away by the very things I thought would disappoint me. The strange food is delicious, the newest book is the best yet, or God has completely baffled me by answering my prayer with a “yes, and…” There are certainly times I am disappointed, but it is not worth getting anxious over.

God is on the move, and he wants us prepared for his work. Perhaps he won’t come through in the way we expect, and he may not answer every prayer with a “yes,” but that is because God has a better plan. He wants us prepared to be amazed.

1 John 2:28 MSG
And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.

Questions:
In what areas of your life are you doubting that God will show up? How can you prepare yourself to see God transform your life?

Next Steps:
Find a time, a location, and a passage from the Bible to prepare your heart and mind for God’s transformation. Before you start reading, pray to be awed by God.

Prayer:
Father, I have been doubting your ability to work in my day-to-day life. Prepare me to see your miracles, teach me to expect your good works, and open my eyes to see you transform my life. Your power is incredible, and I can’t place limits on it. I can’t wait to be amazed by you today. Amen.


This post was written by Lydia Snyder. Lydia has been a story-lover for as long as she can remember, often found reading books or writing. She is thrilled to be making a difference by inspiring others to take part in the best story ever – God’s story. Lydia lives with her three wonderful siblings and two amazing parents.


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The Journey to Servanthood – The Bible is Greek to Me

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During the weekend message, each campus pastor discussed the steps on our spiritual journey with Jesus Christ. We transform from an unbeliever to a believer to a leader of others before ultimately reaching servanthood. How do we practically grow in our spiritual journey and reach servanthood?

There are four main steps that lead us from unbelievers to servants for the Kingdom of God: education, purification, purpose, and action.

Education: This step consists of learning about God and his character to build an intimate relationship with him. A crucial aspect of education is to study the Bible regularly and ask God to guide us while reading his word. This requires discipline and patience; however, the rewards we reap by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are immeasurable.

Purification: Even many seasoned Christ-followers are unfamiliar with purification. As we learned last weekend, purification can be simplified to “finding freedom.” When we develop our relationship with Jesus and familiarize ourselves with Scripture, we find freedom from sin, freedom from the chains of the world, and freedom from the heavy burdens that each of us carries. By studying the Bible, we are convicted of our sins and redirected by the Holy Spirit to live according to the example Jesus set for us.

Galatians 5:13-14
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Purpose: The third step in the spiritual journey is a major part of the mission at CedarCreek Church. It includes finding our purpose—the unique reason that God created us. This largely consists of discerning our spiritual gifts, such as pastoring, encouragement, intercession, etc. However, through studying the Bible, we also find that our main purpose is to live in relationship with God and with others. Through his word, we can clearly see that we were created to glorify God and serve one another.

Action: The final step of this ongoing spiritual journey is action. This means living out our faith and having a meaningful impact on the lives of those around us. Once we know God and experience purification and preparation, we can use our newfound freedom and purpose to be a light to our communities. This could be achieved by using our spiritual gifts, volunteering, and being a friend to those who need it. It is living out our faith and being the hands and feet of Jesus in our world.

Growing in our relationship with God and learning how to consistently interact with Scripture is not always easy. It requires discipline and a heart transformation that only the Holy Spirit can provide. However, the life change that results by living out our faith and following Scripture will have a profound spiritual impact in each of our lives.

Questions:
What is the most difficult part of reading Scripture for you personally? Does anything hold you back from reading the Bible consistently?

How has reading the Bible and learning about God helped strengthen your relationship with him?

Next Steps:
Sign up for GrowthTrack to discover your purpose and find your spiritual gifts.

Join a Group to connect with a life-giving community of Christ-followers who will encourage you to read Scripture and will help you grow in your relationship with Jesus.

 Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your inspired word through the Bible. It is incredible that you provided me with a way to learn about you, find freedom, discover my purpose, and live out my faith. I praise you for the wonderful gift of your word, and I pray that you strengthen me to study it each day, consistently and attentively. Open my heart to understand Scripture and reveal what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Isabelle Billnitzer. Isabelle is a regular attender of CedarCreek and serves in the children’s ministry. She is passionate about writing and loves spending time with her family and friends. Her goal is to show people the love of Jesus Christ.


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What Inspires You? – The Bible is Greek to Me

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When I became a Christian at the age of 43, I knew about the Bible because my family faithfully attended church throughout my childhood and adolescence. I just didn’t think it had any relevance in the 21st century, nor did I believe it was necessarily the inspired word of God.

The best thing that happened to me along my faith journey was when I discovered a church that lived out what the Bible teaches. Lee Powell, founding pastor of CedarCreek Church, was the associate pastor there. I surrounded myself with people who were actively living out their faith and tried to learn from them. I was shocked to learn that, unlike my previous church, these people actually did what the Bible says, whether it was convenient or not.

Where the Bible says:

Matthew 5:44
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

They did that! And where it says:

Malachi 3:10
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

That’s what they did!

Their faith was not confined to Sundays in church—it was lived out in the power of the Holy Spirit every day. That was the kind of faith I wanted, and I was inspired to shrink the gap from the life I was living to the one God was calling me to. For me, the Bible became God’s inspiration for my transformation—I finally accepted this truth from 2 Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

God used those people to help me recognize some of the lies I had believed. As I intentionally made time in my schedule for Bible study, journaling, and reflection, God used his Word to correct me when I was wrong and guide me into his truth. He used it to help me find the gifts he had given me and how to use them for his purpose.

I continue to be encouraged by the people God has put into my journey, especially those in my life group and those I’ve met through serving opportunities. I am so grateful for them and this wonderful church. None of us are perfect, but we have determined to follow Jesus with love and enthusiasm!

Questions:
What inspires you? Have you ever drawn inspiration from the Bible? Have you put that inspiration into action?

Next Steps:
Commit 10 minutes for the next 10 days to read a Bible passage. Use the P.A.U.S.E. (prepare, ask, understand, serve, encourage) method described in this weekend’s message. Journal what God says to you and share it with a Christian friend. Invite them to join you!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I desire to be filled with your Holy Spirit and to follow Jesus with all my heart! I trust that in doing so my life will become more joyful, peaceful, loving, and purposeful. Guide me. Help me to hear your voice and follow your lead. I trust in your plan and purpose for my life. 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.


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.


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Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
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