Focus 2 (of 4)-...and that light was the light of all people.

Focus 2 (of 4) | ...and that light was the light of all people.

Let's focus on the incredible value of relationships and connection.
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
Do you fold your pizza?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 2" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Watch this video to tee up this Spotlight.
Watch this video to kick the Spotlight off.
Welcome Perspective
As the light connects us, it shows us the ways that our connections may lack. 
Songs are pieces of art, and art is meant to help us think and feel.

To quote bestselling novelist Matt Haig:

“Music doesn't get in. Music is already in. Music simply uncovers what is there, makes you feel emotions that you didn't necessarily know you had inside you, and runs around waking them all up. A rebirth of sorts.”
- Matt Haig

Listen to the following song in the ready position—ready to take notes via whatever method best suits you. As you listen to the song, jot down whatever it makes you think of in real time. It can be a prayer, a reflection, a criticism—it doesn't matter.

Once the song is done, you can take a minute to clean up whatever you wrote (if you’d like), but don’t overthink it too much. Then move on. The song has done its work.
How would you feel if we told you that the submit button
you just hit (on the above form) actually took those words you typed and sent them to your five closest friends and family members
and was tweeted @yourpastor
and will be on a billboard on the nearest highway to your house for the next month?
(If you “cheated” and didn't type anything during the song, it’s OK. Imagine you had, or better yet, think about those who did!)

You wouldn’t love finding out, after the fact, that what you wrote had been shared publicly. Nobody would. You’d prefer to know beforehand so you could make it more presentable.
Let’s do a short exercise. You’re going to have to think of a most embarrassing fact or story about yourself—something you’d never share with others. (If you’re the kind of person comfortable enough to have nothing hidden—first off, congratulations on your psychological health, and second, just choose the most embarrassing thing, period.)

For this exercise to work, you’re going to need to share that embarrassing thing—out loud. (In order to do this, you’ll need to be away from other people, so nobody can hear you—at least no other person.)

  • It will just be you, and we’re going to assume, for this exercise (and because it’s what he says is true—Psalm 139:4 “Even before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.”) that God can hear you.
  • We’re also going to assume, for this exercise (and because it’s what he says is true—Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.) that when you willingly talk to God, he wants to hear you.

So (and thanks for humoring this exercise), make sure you’re somewhere nobody else can possibly hear you and tell God your embarrassing thing. Then move on to the next step. (Remember, it needs to be something you’d prefer not to tell anyone else. In fact, if it is something you’ve never said out loud before, that’s ideal.) If, for some reason, it is impossible for you to get somewhere by yourself, take a piece of paper or phone and write it out, and then immediately get rid of it.
Did you do it? Really?

We hope so, and here’s the biggest reason why: We want you to know the freedom of sharing this kind of thing with God. He’s the perfect confidant. You can trust him to guard your heart and your reputation. He cares for you.

On the other side of the coin, though, is this thought: Almost everyone has things they’d rather not share, and hiding those things, while sometimes the safer move, puts darkness between us. It’s sad and true and probably unavoidable, it will be better in heaven, where the closeness of God will make us feel so safe no secrets will be needed.
See how that when light can be brought in—when we “let it be” part of our relationships—incredible connection happens. (This is never more obvious than with Jesus!)

While it's true that truly knowing the people around you is hard, it’s different with God. You’re like an open book to him, and he's given himself as an open book (literally, the Bible) to you.

If you’re doing this in a group, this will be particularly special because you’ll be doing this with one another and with God, all together at the same time. (If you’re not, it will still be good. We promise.)

One of the psalms (Psalm 139) does a remarkable job talking about the way God knows every person, and it's written as a prayer. Pray this together, each person taking one line and just continuing around the circle until you’ve prayed it through, and then continue your prayer by listening to the song “Known” (which is also a directed to God).

  1. God, investigate my life, get all the facts firsthand.
  2. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
  3. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.
  4. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
  5. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going.
  6. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!
  7. Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit, to be out of your sight?
  8. If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
  9. If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, you’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting!
  10. Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!”
  11. It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
  12. Yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.
  13. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
  14. Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!
  15. You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
  16. You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
  17. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
  18. The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
Worship Perspective
The way God sees you is the way you’re meant to be; nothing is hidden.
See how connections are complicated by the fact that you can’t get more than you put in, but plural.
Let's do a little quiz (or two)…
Now that you’ve completed part one (the easy part), let’s move on to part two of the quiz. But, before we do, a quick “did you know?”

Did you know that 71% of online daters expect other people to lie on their profiles (which, if you think about it, really just means 71% of online daters lie on their profiles...)?

OK, onward…
Hypothetical bonus question (for fun): You know dating sites/apps have a financial incentive for people to stay single, right?

  1. No way. People who work at dating sites are all just people who love love.
  2. I know, but I'm not worried. I'm a dream boat. Give me three days.
  3. Wait, what? You mean, because they'll lose not one but two customers every time a successful relationship occurs through their site they have a perverse incentive to keep users single for a longer time so that they can keep benefiting from our loneliness, and therefore they actually prefer to keep things shallow and allow dishonesty so that people like me keep expectations high despite the obvious pitfalls simply because I saw on Facebook that one of the people I went to high school with met someone online and they seem really in love and all I really want is to be loved like that and sometimes it seems like nobody else is interested in that for me and now not even eHarmony wants me to find love?
  4. No, actually, they don't. That may have been the case in the beginning, but in an increasingly crowded market, basic capitalism is working to improve the effectiveness of sites. You see, the more successes they can brag about, the more likely they are to be the service that people will choose, and since online dating isn't going away (so the market is secure) and new people are coming of age all the time (they don't have to operate from a scarcity mindset) they can just try to be great for their users and win with integrity.
Let's see how the Bible talks about love:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:7–21

According to this, what is the best example of God’s love? Why?

Verse 12 says that even that best example of love is “made complete in us.” What do you think that phrase means?

Illume seeks to create holistic community by bringing people together in three key spiritual perspectives:


The three sections in 1 John 4 that follow what you just read actually reflect the goals of those three disciplines. Can you figure out which is which?

Let's try to divide 1 John 4:13–21 into three sections,

  1. one of which is primarily about “finding WISDOM together in God’s revelation,”
  2. one of which is about “finding REST together in God’s promises,”
  3. and one of which is about “finding PUPOSE together in God’s directives.”

Once your group has decided how to split up the section, click on the buttons below to reveal how we split them up and see if your version matches the one here. If your answers were different, that’s probably OK, just explore why.

Watch this video about love.
Learn Perspective
Growing together means seeing one another by sharing ourselves.
Watch this video about serving and love.
Suggestion 1: Quarantine Chat

Right now, commission one person in your group to visit Quarantine Chat, giving them three minutes to study up on what it is and how it works. They’ll report back to the group shortly.

Suggestion 2: Nextdoor Help Map

Next, assign someone to visit the Nextdoor Help Map, giving them three minutes to learn about the neighborhood Help Map. They’ll report back to the group shortly.

Suggestion 3: RSVP

Finally, one more person should take a quick look at this flyer and get ready to explain what you can do. (More information on this can be found at Solid Ground.)
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Serve Perspective
Love gives and receives, finding ways to give itself by serving others.
Pray this prayer.
(If you’re with a group, have one member of the group read the italicized lines and the rest of the group read the repeated response.)

Lord, you loved us first, and your love made us perfectly.
We love because you first loved us.
Drive away the fears that divide us, and remind us:
We love because you first loved us.
There is no punishment that we need to worry about, because any punishment we deserve was suffered by Jesus.
We love because you first loved us.
In this world, we are like Jesus, loved by you and loving others.
We love because you first loved us.
You are love. Help us live in you as you live in us.
We love because you first loved us. Amen.
(Psalm 39:1–12)
Let's share in a shared Confession.

The Apostles’ Creed is a brief statement of gospel truths taught by the apostles. It was not formulated by theologians, but out of the needs of the Christian church. Christians used it to tell others what they believed and also to confess their faith with one another as they met for worship.

(If you’re in a group, consider reading it together to complete this Spotlight.)

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective
Love and light call us to give more of ourselves and receive more of others. 
Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.

Tap on the buttons in the frame below to see what’s currently happening at Illume—information on everything from current and upcoming online content to live events and opportunities to serve in the community can all be found here.                          

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