Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Lonely Hearts Club

The Lonely Hearts Club
Welcome Home: Finding our place in God's plan

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." -Jesus (Matthew 5:6)

RIGHTEOUSNESS: Relational rightness, justice, loveliness; being in right relationship, with God and others; a gift of grace declared over us and infused into us by God.

Secular approach: We focus our fight for justice on laws and systems without offering a solution to the human heart.

Religious approach: Creating safety through rule-keeping and rigid boundaries.

Kingdom approach: We focus our desires toward being in right relationship with one another, modelled and taught by Jesus.

THE ROOT PROBLEM: To be human is to be, at some level and at all times, in every moment and in all circumstances and experiences, deeply and disturbingly lonely.

"We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes." -Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
Bruxy's favorite quote 

THE BRUTAL CYCLE OF LONELINESS: Loneliness > Hypervigilance/Critique > Suspicion of others and/or preoccupation with self > Others move away

Hypervigilance criticism self absorbed
Suspicion of others preoccupation with self

We need communities of patience and perseverance to break the cycle!
Let's be family. I'll never run away even when you become difficult

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." -Jesus (Matthew 6:33)

Ephesians 2:14-22
Bruxy's favorite passage
Masks post at
No after party
Paul is opening the need to get along between cultures. The Jews were victimized by their enemies. 
Christ himself is our peace. He destroyed the hatred. There is now no dividing wall. 
The purpose the why behind the cross. 
and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near,
Ephesians 2:16‭-‬17 NET

A single plurality and a plural singularity.

"You [plural] are the light [singular] of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your [plural] light [singular] shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16)

"We [plural] are the temple [singular] of the living God." -The apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16)

"You are like living stones [plural], being built into a spiritual house [singular]." -The apostle Peter (1 Peter 2:5)

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies [plural] as a living sacrifice [singular], holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." -The apostle Paul (Romans 12:1)

The church is not given God's mission and is not on God's mission – the church is God's mission!

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." -Luke the Physician & Historian (Acts 2:42-47)
Love is nimble. Law just is. Love can be flexible. 
We love God by loving your neighbor is New Covenant
Adam and Eve didn't need words. Sin means separated. The Holy Spirit connects us. 

Acts 2.42.47 they shared 3 ways. 
Large gatherings Learning
Home groups Living
Communities interacting with all the people GIVE

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." -Jesus (Matthew 6:33)

How will you do this? Start by pursuing three spaces of grace…


Temple = Central large group [LEARNING]
Homes = Local small groups [LIVING]
Communities = interacting with "all the people" [GIVING]

Next Steps This Week

1. Sign up for Home Church (let's practice what we preach)

2. Take 15 minutes every day to invest in a close relationship (give the gift of your full attention to a family member or friend)

3. Do one thing every day to invest in a distant relationship (be intentional about connecting in some small way with a stranger or neighbour)

Further Study…

Together by Vivek H. Murthy, M.D.
The Search to belong by Joseph R. Myers
What is the Church by David E. Fitch
Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, M.D.
The Soul of Desire by Curt Thompson, M.D.
Remember to use these questions like a menu, not a checklist. These questions are not mandated material you have to cover, but options to help guide your discussion as much or as little as you like.

HANG OUT | Large Group
1. What about the Sunday teaching stood out to you?

2. Have you tried any of the next steps in the Take Out? Talk about your experience.

HEAR | Discussion Groups
3. Read Ephesians 2:14-22.

a) What stands out to you in this passage? (If processing your thoughts around this question is all you have time for, this is enough!)

b) Read God's Grand Plan in Ephesians 1:10. How does this connect with Paul's thoughts in chapter 2?

c) Paul encourages Gentiles to "remember" what life was like apart from Christ. Why encourage anyone to think back over the negative aspects of their life while also considering the newness that Jesus brings? What might be the benefit?

d) Jesus "destroyed" the Law through the cross, yet we can still learn from the Old Testament scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Talk about how we can use the Old Testament today. What are its benefits? It's limitations?

d) Paul saw grace, not race, as defining our identity. Being Jewish or non-Jewish was infinitely secondary in forming one's sense of self. The Christian household, the family of Jesus, the church was a completely new way of being human (also see Paul's language in 1 Corinthians 10:32). So, what are the benefits and dangers of celebrating our particular nationality or ethnic origin today? How can the church do a better job of uniting as one distinct "race" or family?

f) Take time to meditate on verse 22. Then talk about what God might be showing you.

HUDDLE | Huddles
4. Recall question 3c above. What has Jesus helped you "remember" differently?

5. Talk about what God has been saying to you this week, and/or about how you are doing in your lives, and pray for one another.

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