Focus 3 (of 4)- ...and the darkness has not understood it.

Focus 3 (of 4) | ...and the darkness has not understood it.

Let's focus on the content that makes those relationships whole.
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
Would you rather be reincarnated as a cat or a dog?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 3" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
See why information is mostly boring.
There’s so much of it, and so much of it seems to exist for the sake of existing.

It's really, really, really easy to publish the written word. Anyone with the internet can do it—and as a result, pretty much anyone with the internet does. It used to be harder, because you had to write and copy things by hand.

Imagine it. Think of your favorite book. How many pages are in it?  Divide that by three. That's how many days it would take you if you had to write out your favorite book by hand.

What was your answer?

The ancient Egyptians were the first civilization to really lean into having professional scribes—people whose full-time job was to copy documents. The hieroglyph used to signify the scribe is this:

This is the hieroglyph.

This is the actual equipment.

The hieroglyph contains…

  • the scribe's ink-mixing palette, 
  • a vertical case to hold writing-reeds, 
  • and a leather pouch to hold the black and red ink blocks.

Those three items alone show the stark contrast between what it took to copy then and what it takes to copy today. Today, it would just the keys for copying and pasting: Control+C and Control+V. Simple keystrokes that allow you to copy and paste the entire text of the Bible in seconds.

As a result, a lot of stuff is published and redistributed, all over the internet, and a lot of it is completely worthless. (There's enough of it that the University of Pennsylvania offers a class called "Wasting Time on the Internet.")
Actually, this abundance of under-considered content is more than a waste of time and more than worthless.

It’s evil!

Information should exist to be light—which means it should exist to facilitate connection. (If the idea that light exists to facilitate connection is new to you, you'll find all kinds of reasoning for it in the first Spotlight of this series. Click here to view.)

If information isn’t bringing light and facilitating connection, it is bad.

God explains why…
Welcome Perspective
This is how God treats information:
All truth exists to facilitate connection.

God explains this (rather beautifully) in the Bible, in Isaiah 55:

So, we should remember what "revelation" is for—it reveals God!

Information helps us see him better and connect to him better.

Here's a promise: God does not waste words. None aren’t valuable—but they might not have the value you want them to have in the moment—and that's OK. In this way, God's Words are like letters from your mom.

Watch this video to consider the power of a lovingly written letter.
Jesus is God's heartfelt letter. The Bible is, too, but you'll understand the Bible better if you think of it like a heartfelt letters, through which God shows himself - just like he did through Jesus. Throughout the 4 books of the Bible that tell the story of Jesus' life on earth, Jesus never forgets what he's doing and whom he is doing it for. Every word he has ever spoken has facilitated connection between God and people.

Watch this video to see how Jesus is the connection, in his own words.
Read the red letters.
In many print editions of the Bible, the words of Jesus are written in red letters. 

Like this one!

Because the words of Jesus are often so helpful to people, Christians over time have referred to the “red letters” as being both comforting and helpful.

Worship with these two songs that use the “red letters” metaphor powerfully as you continue to consider the words of Jesus you just read.
Worship Perspective

Think of good, informative content like you think of a campfire.

It’s where people can gather to share and connect and learn in a safe and informed way. A good campfire has certain elements that make it work. So also do good connecting, informative pieces of content.

You’ll need to designate a scribe before getting started with this activity. (If you’re doing the Spotlight on your own, you’re the scribe.)

First, list the elements of a good campfire. Try to think of each component that makes a good campfire work. When you have your list, (and not until you have your list!) click the button to compare it with ours. 


Second, for each element of a good campfire, discuss it’s equivalent when it comes to interacting with good content that facilitates relationships. (If a campfire has __________, that’s like good content having __________.) Then click the button below to see what Bible verses we’ve connected to the elements, and look up the passages listed to test the equivalents you discussed.


Finally, here are our real answers. Some of yours may be different, clearer, or more specific to your situation, which is great. (It’s about the discussion and exercise, not about seeing a outdoorsy metaphor in exactly the same way.) If you’re willing, share some of the differences between your (or your group’s) answers and ours in the comments section below.


Watch this video—by way of review—from the Christian band Rend Collective, as they explain why they recorded their album, “Campfire,” around an actual campfire.
Learn Perspective

Make it real with these two simple tasks you can do right now…

  1. You have two minutes. Think of a person you know and care about. Find and share a piece of content that you think will connect you to that person. It can be helpful, funny, interesting—up to you. Then share with your group what you found/shared. Go.

  2. Visit the More Love Letters website and select someone to whom you’ll write a letter. Right now, tell someone you know that you’re going to do it, so that they can help you remember.

(For reference, you can get some guidance about writing your letter on this page, including notes on how they handle religious thoughts in the letters. It’s also very interesting to read this blog post on their site, which is a heartfelt love letter about God.)
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

Read this prayer.
In John 17, Jesus prays an incredible prayer for you. As you read it, echo the thoughts from it for one another and for people around the world.

(If you’re with a group, have one member of the group read the prayer.)

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Listen to "Burn Like a Star" by Rend Collective as we start winding down.
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

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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