Focus 1 (of 5)-The Light Can't Not Shine

Focus 1 | The Light Can't Not Shine

The light shines no matter what. The problem is somewhere else.
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
What is your favorite mythical creature?
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 half of the light in the universe.
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!)
Count the lights in your room.
Follow these steps to do a little activity:

  1. Right now, in whatever room you’re in, count the sources of light.
  2. (If you’re doing the Spotlight in a group, share that number with the rest of the group.)
  3. Now, count the sources of light in the room pictured below. What’d you get?

This interesting and fancily-staircased room has quite a few light bulbs—nearly 30—and two sizable windows. But is that all there is?

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Ephesians 5:13

When Paul, one of the earliest theologians of Christianity, was explaining both the danger of living life in the darkness and the goodness of living life in the light to the people he served, he said the words quoted above. His point was that light doesn’t just shine on things. It makes things shine.

So, with that in mind, let’s do a recount. If “everything that is illuminated becomes a light,” does that change the total number of lights in the room you’re in? What about the room pictured above?

It probably should, and the number probably becomes too high to really count. There are more lights than you may have initially thought. (And if you saw through this exercise from the start, congrats!)

Of course, all this light is a metaphor. As Paul describes it in Ephesians, light is that which allows one thing to be perceived by another. As it was described in Illume’s previous series, “On Letting There be Light,” light is that which facilitates generous connection.

In this series, focus your attention on what it takes to really make that happen, as often and as prolifically as light shines in the universe.
Welcome Perspective
The light is shining, so whatever doesn’t shine isn’t in the light.
Pray and worship along with this song.
Lyrics from May You Find a Light by ANAE

Lost and weary traveler,
searching for the way to go;
stranger, heavy-hearted,
longing for someone to know…

May you find a light.
May you find a light.
May you find a light
to guide you home.

There are weary travelers
searching everywhere you go;
strangers who are searching—
longing deeply to be known.

May you find a light.
May you find a light.
May you find a light
to guide you home.
Find and follow the light.
Throughout human history, God has been using light to carefully create relationships.

Read through the ways God has woven things together with light in the passages below. (Try to read it as a single, flowing narrative—a story—and don’t hesitate to stop and ask questions along the way.)

Now, pray about this, using the following prompts:

  1. Thank God for the love you find in these verses as he defeats the darkness that separates you from everything around you and draws you into the light of connecting love. 
  2. Ask God to help the ideas here be part of the way you think and see the world around you.
  3. Pray for specific people in your life who would benefit from these concepts. 
Save a verse for another day.
There are a lot of pieces to the tapestry of passages above, and on a given day one might strike you differently than another. This is part of how God keeps serving you—he says more than you need in one moment so that he can connect with you in another, future moment.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a writing utensil. 
  2. On one side, write out the verse that most “spoke to you” or made the most sense today. 
  3. On the other side, write out the verse that made the least sense or seemed the least relevant. 
  4. Put the piece of paper somewhere you’ll see it throughout the week. Each time you see it, flip it over.
  5. As the week goes by, consider which verse opens up the most—the one God keeps reaching out for and connecting with you.
Worship Perspective
Everything God does, he does to build and enhance true relationship.
Characterize true relationships by adding to the list.
Light exists to facilitate relationship. And as you saw in the Worship section of this Spotlight that God invests himself in that process. So it must be important. But what does it really look like, though?

We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 8:3

The idea in the last sentence there—“whoever loves God is known by God”—feels like the beginning of a good description of what might be considered true relationship.

Relating is more than just knowing or seeing or perceiving. A true, genuine, loving relationship (whether it’s between a human and God, between family members, between friends, or anywhere else) is going to have certain markers. What comes to mind for you (and your group)?

Answer this question: What is true about true relationships?

Two ways to access the form and submit answers…

  1. Option 1 | Use/scan the QR code here
  2. Option 2 | Go to

Two ways to “frame up” how to write your answers…

  1. “A true relationship has… [YOUR ANSWER HERE].”
  2. “True relationships are… [YOUR ANSWER HERE].” 

(Note: You can contribute as many answers as you’d like.)

View everyone’s compiled answers in the frame below.

(Yes, your responses are included here, too!)

See Jesus lean into the desire for relationship.
When Jesus called Nathanael to be one of his disciples, he appealed to Nathanael’s natural desire for connection.

Read the story and discuss using the questions below.

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

John 1:43–51

Discuss the above story using the following questions: 

  • How was Nathanael’s original response to the idea of a prophet from Nazareth void of the generosity needed to make relationships work? 
  • What is the genius in Philip’s response to Nathanael in verse 46? 
  • What do you think Jesus means when he says, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree…”?
  • It’s one thing for a prophet to see something. It’s another for them to see you. As Nathanael responds to Jesus, do you think he truly sees him yet?
Think through this song about meeting with God.
Nathanael’s confession—“You are the king of Israel”—put Jesus on his throne. This is part of true relationship: seeing someone as they are and still being near to them. The song Boldly I Approach does a great job bringing that idea out.

Learn Perspective
Full-on, in the light, ever-brightening delight should be the ideal.
Grab that piece of paper from earlier.
During the worship portion of this Spotlight, you wrote down two verses on two sides of the same sheet of paper. You’ll need that again.

(Get ready: You are about to serve the others in your group—and the others in your group are about to serve you.)

  1. Everyone, turn your paper to the side that has the verse that made the least sense to you on it.
  2. Take turns, go around one-by-one, stating to the rest of the group which verse made the least sense to you and why. 
  3. Allow space for the group to speak to that—allow them to give you their perspective and understanding of the verse.
  4. Keep going until everyone has a better, more well-rounded understanding of their "least sense" verse.
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
Light that really shines doesn't need to find the dark—it just needs to be light.
Let's recap what we have learned in this Spotlight—and series.

Discuss: What was your biggest takeaway from this Spotlight?

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
The problem is not the light. The light is, shall be, and must be shining.
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.                          

No Comments