God On Your Ipod Part 1: Make You Feel My Love
On Sunday 23rd July at our morning service, we started our series God On Your Ipod with the topic 'Make You Feel My Love'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to this, click here.
Our new series is called “God on your iPod” (for techno-phobes out there you can call it “God on your CD player/Tapedeck/Gramophone” if you like!).
The point is that God is always here with us and we don’t have to wait for a church service to be aware of him, to notice him, to listen and speak with him. This new series highlights this by drawing on popular songs, listening to them from a Christian perspective and thus tuning into God.
God is ready to speak to us but are we listening? We first need to be listening in order for God to be able to connect with us. As an example, we can learn from the Old Testament part of the bible in the part called 1 Samuel, in chapter 3, verses 1- 10. You can read this by clicking here.
God speaks to Daniel but at first Daniel doesn’t recognise that it is God himself calling him. When advised by his wise mentor Eli however, he understands and next time God calls to him he says ‘Speak, your servant is listening.’
Notice that God doesn’t do more than call Daniel’s name at first – He waits until Daniel confirms that he is listening before going on.
Listening for God (rather than merely hearing what we hear every day without considering God) helps us to hear what God has to say to us. There may be truths, lessons and challenges for us in things that we’ve heard a thousand times but it’s never really gone in because we’ve just been hearing words, not listening for God’s voice within them.
So how might we tune in? How can we hear from God? Our big idea for this series is to always be listening – look around you, listen with a disciple’s ear to stories, anecdotes and even… pop songs.
Our first example here is the wonderful Bob Dylan song: “Make you feel my love” (you may be more familiar with the recent cover version by Adele). You can listen to this by clicking here.
The song reminds me how much God loves us. For a powerful statement on this, have a look at this passage from the writing of one of Jesus’s disciples, John, taken from a letter he wrote which we now know as 1 John, found in the New Testament part of the bible. It’s from chapter 4 of that first book (letter) from John and verses 7 – 21. You can read this by clicking here.
What would a proper response be to a God who loves us so much? God loved us first – so much so that he sent Jesus to atone for our sins. Therefore the proper response is a response of love and our love for others (or lack thereof) is evidence of our love (or lack of love) for God himself.
If you love someone, you should give them your focused attention and really listen to them. If you love God, or want to, give Him your focused attention and listen to Him. Don’t be distracted – if you love someone, give them your focus and listen, really listen.
Do you want more of God in your life? Well, nobody has less of God than they want. Because God loves us first.
As we try to tune in to God more and more through this series and hopefully forever, let’s keep in mind our pre-eminent response should be one of love – loving God, loving people and (thus) growing together to become more like Jesus.
The church should be built on foundations of putting into practice what Jesus taught – and the pre-eminent thing is love. Jesus made very clear that loving God with all you have and loving your neighbour as yourself are the most important things in life. He insisted that on those two things everything else rested. Further, he explicitly commanded his disciples to love one another as he loved them. That’s pretty clear!
It’s so easy to be distracted by the day-to-day demands and the routine of life. How much time do we burn on other things (TV anyone? Social media?) without devoting any time at all to God – the creator of the universe, the creator of you and of me, who LOVES us. How can that be right?
As a church we say we want more of God in our lives. And nobody has less of God than they want. But a church is made up of gathered individuals. Therefore the challenge for us as individuals is this – do I REALLY want more of God in my life? Do you? Because nobody has less of God than they really want.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Do you want more of God in your life? If so, are you being intentional about trying to hear from him by setting aside time to pray, read the bible and reflecting on the things that come to your mind?
2. Do you ever ask God for the answers to the issues facing you? If not… why not? God loves you!
3. Is there someone in your life whom you would say you love? When they speak to you, are you really focussed on listening to them?
4. Are there particular songs that move you in some way? Have you ever tried “listening for God” in them? What might God be saying to you as you listen to those songs?
5. Have you ever compiled a “mix-tape” or playlist for someone you care about? What are some of the songs you would put together to convey your feelings about who you are and what and whom you care about?
6. Our “playlist” for this series is comprised of six main theme songs (one per “preach”) and some incidental songs along the way. Try listening to them and when you do, listen out for God in them:
7. Make you feel my love (Bob Dylan / Adele)
8. Bridge over troubled water (Simon & Garfunkel / Artists for Grenfell)
9. At your side (The Corrs)
10. Human (Rag ‘n’ Bone Man)
11. Who Knew? (Pink)
12. The Circle of Life (Elton John / Carmen Twillie)