Finding God on Your iPod: Kings of Leon and the Beautiful War

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.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Fight for those you love.

Teaching Points:

  • 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.

Challenge for the Week: Fight for those you love.

Faith is Trust in Action

On Sunday we talked about how faith is really trust. It’s an active trust in Jesus. Brennan Manning writes this;

“If a random sample of one thousand American Christians were taken today, the majority would define faith as belief in the existence of God. In earlier times – almost nobody took that for granted. Rather, faith had to do with one’s relationship to God – whether one trusted in God. The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart.”

That’s what we explored, the matter of the heart trusting in Jesus. The point isn’t to believe that there is a God out there. The point is to have active trust in the person of Jesus as the Son of God who gives us life through his grace and gift. This is the point of being an apprentice to trust in Jesus. But this type of trust isn’t intellectual assent, or rational agreement. This is the type of trust with action, with movement, that actually has feet. Meaning that this type of trust needs to change how we live. That’s the whole point, that what we truly trust in we need to act on.

So I ended with this challenge and I think it’s a good challenge for anyone. To ask ourselves: What is one way we can actively trust Jesus this week? What is one thing we can do to act on our trust?

And depending on where you are at with Jesus what he might tell you is different. But I know he will be telling us all to take a step, and to take action. Because that’s what faith is – trust in action.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: The heart of an apprentice is active trust

Take Aways…

  • The most crucial challenge for the church is whether or not we will become disciples of Jesus.
  • The world needs more people living like Jesus
  • Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Jesus Matthew 7:24
  • Can you say, “I know my next step to grow…”?
  • Faith is active trust in something, or someone.
  • Being an apprentice of Jesus starts with trusting in him
  • The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart.” – Brennan Manning

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What do you think the greatest challenge facing the church is? Where is your relationship with God right now – are you exploring him, growing with him, close to him, or centred on him? What is your next step to grow? What next step do you need to take to put your trust into action? What might Jesus be asking you to do? What is faith to you?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment to talk with you kids about “faith”. Say how it is like trusting, that just as how your kids trust you to provide for them, help them, guide them, by actively trusting – asking for help – and obeying. That trusting Jesus is like that. Ask them if they would like to trust Jesus or if they do.

Challenge for this Week:

Find one way to actively trust Jesus this week

What is “Faith”?

This Sunday we are starting a brand new series looking at one of the most important aspects of our faith, becoming an apprentice of Jesus. Dallas Willard writes this:“The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.”

I think this is true. The world doesn’t need more people who know about Jesus. The world doesn’t need more people who like Jesus. The world needs more people who are willing to follow, sacrifice, and become like Jesus. This is what the world needs; this is what your community, family, and neighborhood needs too. I know this is what I need too in my life.

So on Sunday we are going to start looking at how to become an apprentice of Jesus. We are going to discover how it starts and how we can start to practice our faith. Because I’m sure of one thing, becoming an apprentice doesn’t mean just learning more things about Jesus. It means starting to practice living like Jesus. In Matthew 7:24 Jesus says the wisemen hears his words, and puts them into practice. So on Sunday we are going to discover the very first and most important practice disciples are to take to start to follow Jesus. It has everything to do with where your heart is at and faith.

So before we get there I want to ask a simple question that I’ll try to answer on Sunday. What is faith?

Because I’ve seen pastors struggle to answer it, I’ve heard theologians muddle answers, and I think that’s where following Jesus starts. So how would you answer it – What’s faith?