Focus 3 (of 4)-Unified Diversity

Focus 3 | Unified Diversity

Can true diversity be unified—truly? Yes! But how, and what would that look like?
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
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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.
Let’s talk about cahoots.
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!)
Sort out where your relationships started.
There are many ways to sort out your relationships, but let’s consider them in terms of wants and needs for the next few minutes.

  • Set a timer—take three minutes to complete this exercise.
  • Think of those you have a good relationship with (family member, favorite cashier, first crush).
  • Put each of them in one of the columns below based on how the relationships started. 
    • Ask yourself: Did your relationships with ___ come from something you needed or wanted? 
  • List as many people as you possibly can in the time allotted.

Now, discuss the activity using these questions:

  • Were just those two categories—“want” and “need”—sufficient to sort out your relationships?
  • Do you have relationships that have changed from being “based in need” to “based in want” or vice versa?
  • Agree or disagree: God does not have a preference about whether our relationships are based in want or in need.
Welcome Perspective
Letting someone help can naturally lead to unity with them.
Focus on the destination while understanding the paths to it.

In perhaps his most powerful prayer (at least from what the Gospel writers recorded), Jesus prayed to the Father:

“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.”

John 17:22–23

As you think and talk about “letting someone help” in this series, know that you’re thinking and talking about how to be the answer to this prayer. Every connection that you share with another person is part of making Christ’s goal a reality, so don’t miss out on the beauty of when it’s happening.

Sometimes the oneness Jesus prayed for comes naturally out of mutual admiration, love, or respect. Other times it doesn’t, and God is able to forge this unity by other means—things like need, crisis, or confusion. When the end goal is unity, we can appreciate the way we got there, even if it’s hard.

Pray along (and sing, too, if you want) with this song about becoming one.
Read aloud, rotating readers if you’re doing this Spotlight in a group, for each of the following paragraphs.

There’s something about an arena of voices singing “make us one” that makes it sound so close you can almost feel it. At the same time, you’re probably realistic enough to understand that this unity will not be fully achieved until you are with God in heaven.

Here’s how it’s described by John, one of Jesus’ disciples, after he was given a glimpse of the end of time and the goodness of heaven.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Revelation 7:9

And that is only possible because of the total victory of Jesus, the lamb of God.

And they sang a new song [to Jesus], saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:9

The very idea that…
  • you have unity
  • with people of every tribe and language and people and nation
  • because Jesus has saved all of us
…is the ultimate example of how “letting someone help” creates “unified diversity.”
Know the needs you have that can make this happen.

The triangle image above is known as “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.” It’s a simple way to categorize the types of needs each person has.

Pray through this list for yourself, starting from the bottom (the more essential needs) and moving up.

Try to get specific as you pray. For example, instead of just praying for “air” (the first in the list of physiological needs)—what is it about air that you would ask for? Air quality improvement? Help against asthma? For everything on the list, try to dive into your particular need, since the more clearly you see the need the more clearly the potential solutions can be.

This prayer activity can be done in person or in families or in other subdivided groups. This is a big list, and hopefully can provide a pretty focused session of praying for you.

Use as many as eight minutes to pray through this, allowing getting through this list attainable.

(The ambient background audio below can help govern your allotted time.)

Worship Perspective
Everyone has needs, and knowing yours can help you reach for unity.
Think through the metaphors in this video about mutual need.

All I need is
the air I breathe,
the time we share,
and the ground beneath my feet.
All I need is the love that I believe in.
Tell me, love, do you believe in me?

Switchfoot, “All I Need”
Lyrics from All I Need by Switchfoot

Sometimes I feel so small,
like a picture on your wall—
like I’m hanging on just to fall
no matter how I try.
So, love, sing to me gentle
that I’m more than just accidental—
more than just inconsequential,
burning out tonight.

All I need is the air I breathe,
the time we share, and the ground beneath my feet.
All I need is the love that I believe in.
Tell me, love, do you believe in me?

There’s a place down by the ocean
where I take my mixed emotions
when my soul’s rocked by explosions
of these tired times—
where love sings to me slowly,
even when I feel low and lonely,
even when the road feels like
the only friend of mine.

All I need is the air I breathe,
the time we share, and the ground beneath my feet.
All I need is the love that I believe in.
Tell me, love, do you believe in me?

One light, one goal,
one feeling in my soul.
One fight, one hope,
one twisting rope.
I’m ready to run
where the ocean meets the sky—

where all I need is the air I breathe,
the time we share, and the ground beneath my feet.
All I need is the love that I believe in.
Tell me, love, do you believe in me?

All I need is the air I breathe,
the time we share, and the ground beneath my feet.
All I need is the love that I believe in.
Tell me, love, do you believe in me?

Tell me, love, ‘cause you’re all I need.

Discuss the key metaphors (now that you have listened through the song) using the following questions:

  1. Why were the characters in the video children instead of adults?
  2. Why did the message of hope come through broken TVs?
  3. What place does “helping” have in this video’s story?
  4. Did anything not make sense to you about the video? Can anyone in your group shed light on it for you?
Dig into the “Gentile offering” of the New Testament.
Navigate through the interactive experience below by clicking through using the arrows.

Generosity needs need.

While it often feels worse to be a “taker” and feels better to be a “giver,” be careful. We are all meant to be both. Humanity has a core desire to be generous like God is generous—but generosity requires a recipient.

Our sinfulness makes us greedy and puts a scarcity into our approach to others, but that’s not God’s dream for us. God’s dream is perfectly shown in Jesus’ willingness to give his entire self to meet our need.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1–2
Learn Perspective
Nothing overcomes diversity’s divisions like love meeting needs.
Distinguish between the different types of counselors.
In the Serve sections of this series, you’ve been looking at letting someone professional help.

That same theme continues this week with a look at the variety of different kinds of counselors that exist.

Let’s work together to work on ourselves.

Divide and conquer (within your group), finding the differences between each type of counselor.

  1. Have each member of your group choose a different counselor type (listed in the image above).
  2. Give each member time to research their chosen counselor type using the article linked below.
  3. Provide space for each member to define their counselor type for the rest of the group.

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
Diversity helps groups address specific needs to remain strong.
Pray together for the help God gives.
Rotate reading through Psalm 20—a prayer for hope—verse by verse, in order of birthdate (month/day) within your group.

1 In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
    May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
2 May he send you help from his sanctuary
    and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
3 May he remember all your gifts
    and look favorably on your burnt offerings.

4 May he grant your heart’s desires
    and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
    and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.

6 Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed.
    He will answer him from his holy heaven
    and rescue him by his great power.
7 Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
    but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
8 Those nations will fall down and collapse,
    but we will rise up and stand firm.

9 Give victory to us, O Lord!
    Answer our cry for help.

Psalm 20
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
Our diversity is a perfect reason to seek another’s help.
Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.

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