Focus 1 (of 4)-Love, Manufactured

Focus 1 | Love, Manufactured

What if the “work” of loving was the very thing sabotaging our efforts to love?
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or and Airbnb? Why?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 1" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Let’s talk about games. 
Listen to this audio clip when you’re ready to begin today’s Spotlight.

(And welcome, by the way! It’s great that you’re here!)
Let’s play a game about popularity.
The game has you pick between artists—pick which artist you think is more played than the other on the music service, Spotify. You’ll keep going until you get one wrong, accumulating a point for each right answer you give. Once you get one wrong, the game will end.

Click on the "POP-CON" link below to start the game. Once you’re done, come back to this page to continue on. (If you’re in a group, play once as individuals, then play with your whole group. Which went better?)


Now that you’ve played a few rounds, answer this: is “Pop-Con” a negative-sum, zero-sum, or positive-sum game?

  • Did you have fun playing? (Even a little counts…)
  • Did you know that the URL is estimated to be worth $8.95, yet it makes 15 cents a day through traffic like yours? What does that translate to in a year? $54.75.
  • Did you know that when you click a button on Illume’s site (like the Play “Pop-Con” Game button above) and it links to another site, that connection makes search engines think our website ( is a more important site?

There are some positive-sum elements:

  • In playing this game, you have given Illume a win (by finding it through our site), and a win (15 cents), and you had a bit of fun yourself.

There are some zero-sum elements:

  • Somebody is going to get more right and win, and everyone else is going to get fewer right and lose.
  • For the artists in the game, someone is going to be more popular and someone else is going to be less popular.

There are some negative-sum elements:

  • None of us will get time spent playing a random artist-comparison game on the internet back. (So make sure you use this experience to learn about positive/zero/negative-sum games to stop this from being a negative-sum experience!)

It’s just a game, like most games, but when you know what kind of game you’re playing, you can make more informed decisions about whether or not to play at all. 

This series, On Letting Love In, is about a game everyone plays whether they want to or not. Artists, playwrights, authors, and musicians have called it the “game of love.” Like, there are ways to play that are positive-sum, zero-sum, and negative-sum.

Today, let’s consider the negative-sum version and learn to avoid it at all costs.

Welcome Perspective
It’s not just about playing the game right—
it’s also playing the right game.     
Read through these verses and then listen to this song.
The song “Is He Worthy?” by Andrew Peterson describes the greatness of Jesus. Before you listen to it, read through the passages below—these are all verses that Andrew Peterson has said inspired the song.

(If you’re doing this Spotlight as a group, have volunteers select and read each passage aloud.)

Hebrews 2:17 (NIV) | For this reason, He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.

1 Corinthians 15:54–55 (NKJV) | So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting?”

Revelation 21:5 (NIV) | He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

John 14:6 (NIV) | Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) | Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

Listen to this song with those verses in mind.
Lyrics for Is He Worthy? by Andrew Peterson

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do.)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do.)
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do.)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do.)

Is all creation groaning? (It is.)
Is a new creation coming? (It is.)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is.)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is.)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave,
he is David’s Root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave.

Is he worthy—is he worthy
of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is he worthy of this?
He is.

Does the Father truly love us? (He does.)
Does the Spirit move among us? (He does.)
And does Jesus, our Messiah, hold forever those he loves? (He does.)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does.)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave,
he is David’s Root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave.

From every people and tribe—
every nation and tongue—
he has made us a kingdom and priests to God
to reign with the Son.

Is he worthy—is he worthy
of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is he worthy—is he worthy?
Is he worthy of this?
He is!
Is he worthy—Is he worthy?
He is!
He is!
Let’s answer this question: “If he’s worthy, why doesn’t he… ?” together.
Use the arrows in the frame below to navigate through this interactive experience.

Watch this video and follow along to see if you, yourself, are worthy?
Your ultra-worthy God makes you worthy. You don’t have to act like John the Baptist, under the rules of the law, like you aren’t allowed to approach God. You don’t have to stay out of the Most Holy Place in the temple fearing for your life if you entered unworthily. God opens himself and says, “Love me if you’d like.”

God lets love in—even before the love is offered!
Worship Perspective
God doesn’t want you to love him because he is worthy.
He wants you to love him because you are.
Kids, watch this video about the story of Cain and Abel.
Fill out this form on the order of love.
You’ll need to scroll down and click the "Next" button within the form’s frame, below, to continue on in the form.

+The Order of Love

It’s a simple idea, but love must be given first, received second. Cain’s offering “failed” because it was an attempt to switch the order.

Learn Perspective
Love must be given first, received second. It’s in the very nature of love
and it is the way the wise use love—as something to give, not to take.

Discover random acts of kindness—at random levels of kindness.
Below is a list of acts of kindness and generosity. Each of the acts on the list can be done in a way that is good—that reflects a love already received—or in a way that is attempting to manufacture love.

For each item on the list, describe both motivations. What is a person thinking when they do the listed thing in order to be loved, and what is a person thinking when they do the listed thing because they know they are loved already?

  1. Leave money on a vending machine for someone.
  2. Bake cookies for the elderly.
  3. Serve at a homeless shelter.
  4. Run a 5k for a good cause.
  5. Help at a veterinarian’s office.
  6. Pick up litter on the beach.
  7. Let someone go in front of you in line.
  8. Give a stranger a compliment.
  9. Make dinner for a family in need.
  10. Insert coins into someone’s parking meter.
  11. Buy flowers to hand out on the street.
  12. Leave letters of encouragement on people’s cars.
Meet the non-profit we’re partnering with this month.
Meet the Modern Widows Club—a national non-profit with a Seattle chapter, devoted to empowering widows to lean into life.

Click here to visit the Seattle Chapter’s webpage and fill in the following blanks:

  • “We are the club ____ ______ wants to be in…”
  • “Regardless of her _____ or ___________, she can use other women in her life who understand the unique challenges she is now faced with.”
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
We love because he first loved us.
This is why service must be in love, not in self-service.
Pray through this video that uses Psalm 50 to steer away from manufacturing love.
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
God’s love is already happening—you can’t create it or end it.
Your role is to respond (hopefully, with love)!
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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