Focus 2 (of 4)-Care-full Speed

Focus 2 | Care-full Speed

What would it look like to be intentional with the time in your life?
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
Who is your favorite author?
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.
Let’s play a game—a matching game. 
Click and drag each of the following quotes (listed in the center, below) to their appropriate place.

Once you think you’ve matched each quote to its author, click the orange “See Answers” button below to see if you got them all right.
What do these quotes mean to you? Have you heard any of them before?

At the center of each of these is a desire to go fast, surrounded by the acknowledgment that when a person tries to rush, they often end up making time-spending mistakes that reduce their efficiency. This is true of individuals and of groups.

This Spotlight is going to explore the ways that, by God’s design, people can work together to avoid those kinds of mistakes and, in doing so, become more “effective.”

(While terms like “effective” or “efficient” are often used in the business world to drive more profit or to become more dominant, they don’t have to be limited to that context. Effectiveness can help people show more love, care for those in need, delight one another, and generally serve in a godly way. These ideas don’t belong to that world—in fact, God said it first!)

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor.

Ecclesiastes 4:9
Welcome Perspective
We all make mistakes, but we make fewer when we’re collaborating.
Start with this song about a friend.
Worship is about finding spiritual rest, so relax into this song about God’s helpful love.

(A quick note: this song is from an album called “Milk and Honey” by Crowder. That’s why the honey-bear jar is filled with milk. We at Illume have no idea why the top of the jar is a grenade pin.)

Most of the examples of God’s helpful friendship in this song are about times of need. The second verse has this line: “So come if you’re needing forgiveness or healing, his mercy’s enough.”

God, the Father, really loves you. There is no moment in which that is not true. The moments in the line above—when you need forgiveness and healing—come after you’ve fallen, failed, or erred. Jesus, the Son of God, died for those moments. God also continues to love you beyond those moments and wants the best for you. He knows that there will be future moments that are hard and you’ll need help. God’s Spirit lives in you for those moments.

Answer this question (and, if you’re doing this Spotlight in a group, share your thoughts with your group): Can you think of a specific, recent moment when God was, for you, the kind of friend described in this song?

Draw the actions of God in this section.
Since this Spotlight is about the ways that letting someone help can add care-full speed to what one does, it’s well worth noting that God, himself, does this (though he does it within himself).

(If you’ve never seen an image like this describing the three-in-one nature of God, the point is this: there is just one God, but that God is described in three persons. While we can’t really explain why or how this works, we can confidently say that this is how God describes himself in the Bible.)

The Bible describes God as Father, Son, and Spirit, and because of this Christians have historically referred to God as a trinity or as triune (which means three-in-one). The triune God generally seems to observe a certain “division of labor” as it accomplishes the work of God. The Father seems to have his domain, the Son seems to do something a little different, and the Spirit seems to work as an extension of both the Father and the Son. Together, they (he) are (is) God—and you are loved.

Grab a scratch piece of paper and something for writing/drawing.

There’s a single paragraph in the New Testament that describes the Triune God’s work of loving you rather beautifully. There are basically four characters in this paragraph: God (the Father), the Son, the Spirit, and us. Have a look:

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Galatians 4:4–7

Take three minutes to draw the interactions taking place here, imagining you are trying to explain this to a small child who couldn’t read yet. When time is up (assuming you’re doing this Spotlight in a group), share what you drew.

(To be clear, the Spotlight is a crude-diagram-of-Galatians judgment-free zone. We are not all artists, and that’s OK. It’s in thinking it through together that we can help each other see what the passage is trying to communicate.)

Claim the Trinity as your partner.
In drawing the passage above, how did you (or did you? It’s OK if you didn’t…) deal with the phrase “when the set time had fully come”?

There is a sense in that phrase that God made sure everything was ready, and when it was, he did what was right. This is “care-full speed.” The Triune God always works this way—perfectly, and people throughout history have found ways to celebrate and proclaim this. One way they’ve done that is by writing “creeds,” which are simply statements of belief.

Watch this visualized version of a creed written in Turkey in the 4th century.

Worship Perspective
In the Trinity, God partners with himself to be your champion.
Teach a lesson learned the hard way.
Everyone learns some lessons through a mistake or bad experience—and therefore, everyone can help somebody else avoid that same mistake.

  1. Break into pairs and swap stories of a time you learned a lesson the hard way.
  2. Think through these questions: What mistake did you make, what was the result, and what did you learn?

(If you’re doing the Spotlight in a group, go into separate rooms—whether physical or digital—and give you and your partner about five minutes for this exchange.)

Divide and conquer—references below.
Paul appeals to several Old Testament examples in 1 Corinthians 10:1–13 as he seeks to lead the church in Corinth.

Divide up the links from within the text below amongst your group, reporting back to the group with context to make the section make sense.

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

While it might just seem like good practice, collaborating to avoid mistakes and increase efficiency is godly. God designed it, God loves it, and God wants to see it happen—as long as there is also loving care at the center of it. Efficiency for the sake of efficiency misses the point: it’s about serving those who need it, no matter who they are.

Discuss these two questions:

  1. There is quite a range to the issues and consequences that Israel dealt with in Paul’s list, but Paul does say what they are all meant to do: “these things occurred as examples to…” 
  2. The last paragraph can seem like it is intended for an individual, but even though you can’t see it in English, some of the “you’s” are singular and some are plural! For example, “If you (s.) think you (s.) are standing firm, be careful that you (s.) don’t fall. No temptation has overtaken you (pl.) except…” Apply the last four sentences of this section to people seeking to help each other out.
Learn Perspective
Two people, two brains—and twice the evidence that “you can endure it.”
Figure out how long therapy lasts.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22

Professional counseling (or therapy) is a way of getting advice on a problem you struggle with—it’s asking for help from someone who (hopefully) knows how to help. “Care-full speed” can easily apply to a therapy-oriented relationship. If you’ve ever considered receiving counseling, you may have wondered how long the relationship with the counselor would last.

(Many do—and some suggest that the “inefficiency” of counseling is the main factor that stops them from pursuing a counselor.)

Watch this video to get some perspective from a counselor on how long the relationship should last.
(This is, of course, one perspective and one voice in a larger conversation.)

React to the thoughts here using the following questions:

  1. What did you think of his assessment that a depressed client can be helped in 5 sessions (and if they aren’t seeing improvement, they need a different counselor)? Were you surprised? Does that seem “just right” to you? 
  2. If you were considering therapy, would you like a counselor to be clear about the time span for the counseling relationship? 
  3. You may not be a professional counselor, but you may have relationships where you offer advice to a struggling person. How do you decide when it is time to encourage them to find a different “adviser”?
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 is the simple goal, but it takes place within time, so we use it well.
Preview a new(ish) song.
Enjoy this hot-off-the-press version of the hymn, “Help Us to Help Each Other, Lord,” with a totally new melody and modernized lyrics.

“Help Us to Help Each Other, Lord” is a hymn written by Charles Wesley, one of the most prolific hymn writers of all time. It is one of the few hymns, however, that focuses on God helping people by giving them one another.

(Many thanks to Rob Nack for working this up, and you can look forward to seeing it in an even more developed form in this series’ Worship Highlight.)

Lyrics from Help Us To Help by Illume

Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel another's care.

Up into you, our living head,
Let us in all things grow,
And by thy sacrifice be led
The fruits of love to show.

Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love.

Up into you, our living head,
Let us in all things grow,
And by thy sacrifice be led
The fruits of love to show.

Touched by the cornerstone of love
Let all our hearts be moved;
And ever into each other run,
We’ll ever move towards you

Up into you, our living head,
Let us in all things grow,
And by thy sacrifice be led
The fruits of love to show.
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
Help one another up when you fall and along when you pursue goals.

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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