On Sunday we are moving past my love of indie-rock bands that as my wife would say, “no one knows or loves but you”. To a mainstream giant band. We are going to be looking and listening to a song called “Grace” by this band you may have heard of…U2.
But before we get there, and you all send me the U2 song you wish I was using, I want to share with you one line from that song.
Bono sings this, “Grace makes beauty out of ugly things”
And I just think that’s both so true and also beautiful. That is what grace does. And come Sunday we are going to be talking about grace, how to show grace, and how to live grace. But before we get there I think it’s important to reflect on the power of grace.
So if you can – take a moment and think about this – what ugly thing in your life has grace made beautiful? Because before I can convince you to share grace, we need to become convinced of the power of grace.
A few Sundays ago we changed up our schedule. I strongly believe that God’s Holy Spirit can prepare and prompt you well ahead of time. By that I mean that planning and preparation are pretty important to me, and I believe God uses those.
But I also believe in listening to the Spirit in the moment as well.
So I have this little rule – plan for everything you can – and listen and change as you God’s Spirit leads in the moment.
So that’s what we ended up doing a few weeks ago. I had a great sermon planned, but in light of some significant health challenges our church was facing it didn’t feel it was the right one. Instead, the church leadership felt we should share on why difficulty happens and why it’s happening right now in our church.
So here is the audio of what I shared. I don’t have teaching notes like normal, or blog posts pre-prepped but I think that’s okay. Because when God’s spirit is moving, the only option you have is to follow it. Hope the audio is helpful.
Hi Everyone – here is the audio in case you missed it from our Family Pastor Andrew Epp preaching. He always does an excellent job, and shared with us a bit of his love of rap in this sermon! Be sure to check it out if you didn’t get to hear it!
On Sunday we are going to be looking at a favourite band of mine called, “The National”. It’s a band that I’ve loved for years, and we are going to look about what they say about lament, grief, and sorrow.
Because here is the truth: sometimes only music can express the depth of the soul.
What I mean by that is sometimes we experience and go through things that we can’t quite put words to. But music has a way of expressing maybe some depth of the hurt, joy, questioning, grief, or whatever we are feeling in a way that just words lack.
Music can be the way we express what’s going on inside. And that’s what we are really going to look at on Sunday. How certain songs express what we are feeling.
But what about for you? Are there any songs that have, at a certain point in your life, really expressed what you are feeling? Are there any songs that for you have better expressed where you are at – than you could yourself?
Think about that for a moment, and come Sunday with “the National”, I’ll share a song that does that for me.
On Sunday we opened up our series looking at “Finding God on your iPod”. We began by discussing some of the different ways our culture views love.
There is the “Jerry Maguire” view. This is where we seek and find people who “complete us”. People who make up for our flaws and failures and make us feel whole and wonderful. The trouble with this view is that it’s ultimately self-centred. It’s about what someone else does for us (completes us).
The second view we looked at was what is called the Disney view. That when you meet the right person, you just live easy and breezy happily ever after. Johnathon Haidt says this about this type of love:
The modern myth of true love involves these beliefs: true love is passionate love that never fades; if you are in true love, you should marry that person; if love ends, you should leave that person because it was not true love; and if you can find the right person you will have true love forever.
And this too just isn’t true and not helpful.
The last view of love we looked at is what I called, Passive Love. This is the idea where it’s loving to let people do whatever they want, as long as they don’t hurt anyone. But again this is just selfishness clouded in love language.
That’s when we turned to Kings of Leon to give us a different view of love. We played the song Beautiful War, which has this wonderful little line:
Love don’t mean nothing Unless there’s something worth fighting for. It’s a beautiful war.
And this line is just so true. And this view is actually right in line with the Biblical view of love that we looked at next. We looked at love as sacrifice, as fighting for someone, as dying for someone in John 3.
John says the message we have heard from the beginning in verse 11 is to love one another. John then goes on to define love, to not leave it vague and culturally bound. He says love looks like Jesus dying. Real love is Jesus giving up his life for us. Love is shown by actions, and it’s shown by sacrifice. Or as Kings of Leon put it, it’s not love unless you’re fighting for someone or something. Love is about sacrifice.
This led us to our main point of the day: fight for those you love. But not fighting in aggressive ways. But in ways that look a lot like dying, like Jesus Christ.
Richard Rohr says, Every time you choose to love, you have also just chosen to die. And that’s true.
So we ended with a simple but hard challenge. To fight for those you love. To really show your love to your spouse, to your kids, to those friendships that matter. To decide to really give of yourself to those around you. Because love is meant to be shown, and it needs to be – if it’s real love.
Big Idea: Fight for those you love.
Three types of love: You Complete Me, Disney, and Passive Love
Love don’t mean nothing, unless there is something worth fighting for. Kings of Leon
Love is the deepest truth…Love may cost you everything, but it is the only thing worth anything. Michael Gungor
Fight for those you love.
Love looks a lot like dying.
Every time you choose to love, you have also just chosen to die. Richard Rohr
Today we like to love until it hurts, Jesus says it’s not love unless it hurts.
Love is proved by deeds; the more they cost us, the greater the proof of our love. Mother Teresa.
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Have you ever fallen into the trap of thinking about love like Disney, Jerry Maguire, or Tolerance? Who once really sacrificed themselves for you and it really changed you? What did it look like – how did they do it? Who are you maybe being called to love? How might you show them? Who can help you?
Discussion Questions for Young Families
Talk to your kids how love needs to be shown. How it needs to be proven through actions. Talk to them about people in your life, who you love. Ask them how you should show them love, and then do it.
Well on Sunday we are launching a brand new series here at church: Finding God on your iPod. We are going to be looking at songs that reveal truth, and have impacted my relationship with God.
Some of the songs you might know, some you might not. But the beautiful thing is that God is all around us and ready to speak to us through so many ways. And we hope to find one way that God speaks to us on Sunday is through music.
I’ve found that at very specific and important times in my life God’s spoken through a song.
So we want to explore some of those over the summer.
But before we get there, what about you? What songs has God used to speak to you? How did he reveal his truth or a thought to you? I’d love to hear what songs God has spoke to you through, and who knows maybe I’ll use one!