Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's a Wonderful Life: George Bailey and Jeremiah

Once again, after my gums have stopped flapping on Wednesday night, my notes from this week's lesson at the 706 are posted for those of you who'd like to read them.

You know -- after speaking last night, I think that I have a LOT more that could be said/done with the comparison of George Bailey (from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE) and Jeremiah (from the Bible -- duh). Their lives really do run parallel in a lot more ways that I thought of before I openend my big stinkin' mouth last night.

Anyway, for those of you who care -- read on:


706 NOTES 3-28-07: THE STORY OF YOU, Week Two

1. The great prophet of our time – Bono – stated sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

2. We all feel the need to know that what we’re going through – we’re not going through it alone. We take comfort in the fact when we know that someone else has walked that path before us, and has survived.

3. In class – how many of you…”Hey you had Mr. Blah for Geometry last year – what’s he like?” You need to know that someone has walked through this fire before you and didn’t get burned.

James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed.

4. Pride: I always love to hear the stories about people who freak out about getting me for a class.

5. They worry b/c…why? Then they talk to people who’ve had me, and instantly their fears are taken away.

6. But they need to know that someone has survived. They need to know the story of how to make it though it.

7. Last week, B read you the story of Corduroy. Just shows he’s a kid at heart.

8. Me? I live for the epic, good-over-evil, nobility-over-truth stories. LOTR. JLU. And this is one of the greatest, most valiant stories ever put on film:

It’s a Wonderful Life clip – stop just after the scene wipe (5:00 minutes)

9. George Bailey – triumph over adversity to become the richest man in Bedford Falls – not in money, but in love.

10. There are a few books found in the middle of the Old Testament referred to as the books of prophecy, books that foretell the story of Jesus. One of these writers is this guy Jeremiah (not the bullfrog).

11. Wrote four books, two of which are side-by-side in the OT – Jeremiah and Lamentations. Sound cheerful and uplifting, don’t they?

12. Can’t just sit and read through them – very allegorical – talks a lot about donkeys, and at one point God tells Jeremiah to get some linen shorts (must’ve been summertime), wear them but don’t take them off (even to wash them) and to then go bury them in the ground. Chapter 13.

13. This was done as an object lesson – and you thought the night we asked you to eat mustard was weird…

14. Quote: “Prophets insist that we deal with God as He reveals Himself, not as we imagine Him to be.”

15. Which is why there are so many different forms that God takes in the OT: fire, wind, voice, etc.

16. Jeremiah was very introspective prophet, struggling with and often overwhelmed by the role into which he has been thrust.

17. He was often bitter about his experience, and expresses the anger and frustration he feels. He is not depicted as a man of iron, and yet he continues in preaching and praying for GOD's people.

18. It’s a Wonderful Life – George Bailey walked through hardships, never having the easy life that everyone else around him was having.
a. Jeremiah 15:18 – Why is my pain unending?

19. Jeremiah, for me, is a great book. Not that I’ve ever felt led by God to bury my pants somewhere, but there’s a lot of comfort in some of the verses in here:
a. Ever felt like you’re alone in having to stand up (ST&!) at school? Jeremiah 1:4-7.
b. Jeremiah 2:2 – I remember your youthful loyalty, our love as newlyweds. You stayed with me through the wilderness years, stuck with me through all the hard places.

20. Jeremiah tells a similar story to the people of Israel – that life is hard. That they’ve been struggling with a lot of problems they brought on themselves (sin-repent-sin; lather, rinse, repeat).

21. But there are great promises in Jeremiah as well:
a. Jeremiah 29:11-14

22. How many for you, the story of you means you sometimes feel alone? Like you’re struggling? That you just need to know that someone did make it before you, b/c you can’t make it on your own/alone? Be it in a class or in life?

23. When Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was, they said that’s some thought he was Jeremiah (Matthew 16:14). Why? B/c Jeremiah was just that well-thought of.

24. We oftentimes say we want to be like Jesus, but no one could’ve been like Jesus during Jesus’ time. That’s one of the reasons why the people who lived in Jesus’ time thought He might’ve been Jeremiah – that Jeremiah’s stories were ones of redemption and hope for the future, and that’s what Jesus claimed as well.

25. That was who they wanted Jesus to be like, just like we want our actions, our hearts to be as Christ’s – so that people will look at the way we act and see Jesus. So that they’ll hear His words in our voice. His story in our stories.

26. At no point did Jeremiah have a “Clarence moment” in life – where he saw the end of his life, what life would have been like without him there…but he did have faith in that the fact that God told Him it’d all work out in the end.

27. We’re about to enter the Easter season, a time when we celebrate the biggest shift from pain to promise in the Bible. Not really that ironic we’re watching a Christmas movie this week.

28. We live on the promise that we will “make it through this” b/c Christ has made it through this. Life.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Batman and love. Yeah.

As requested by...absolutely no one! are my notes from last night's 706 (3-7-07). And if you don't knwo what the 706 is, don't worry. It just means you're not nearly as cool as you think you are:



Batman Begins clip – Bruce Wayne in cell

1. We’ve talked about sex, why sex outside of marriage isn’t what God intended, about the forms of love and how we are to show love – raya, ahava, dod – all talked about love, but what is love, and how does it tie into Batman?

2. Anyone remember the Sprite commercial “Image is Everything?” Never understood why Sprite would choose that. It’s Sprite: 0 calories, 0 caffeine, it’s just this clear, bubbly, flavored water. It’s what you drink when you get sick. It’s okay, but it’s just...Sprite.

3. But that was the beauty and genius of the campaign – they took this bland drink everyone knew OF, and made it into something that everyone knew ABOUT. Gave it an edge. Made it “cool.”

4. Kind of love how love/sex has been “made over” in life. Every person in this room knows what sex is. If I say the word “boobs,” the girls will laugh because you think that’s what boys think about 90% of the time, and guys will laugh because I said the word “boobs.”

5. Isn’t what happened with Sprite what’s happened with love/sex on TV, movies, songs, etc.? Whereas Sprite really didn’t have a function, love/sex does. I Corinthians 12:31the most excellent way.

6. And b/c we’ve taken this mysterious, sacred thing & cheapened it in so many ways, everyone “knows about it.” Or rather, they think they do.

7. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t talk about sex, love, or any aspects of them – we shouldn’t be afraid to openly and honestly discuss it, but we should honor and respect the gift of it.

I Corinthians 14:1Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.

8. That’s why there’s no clip, no song lyric re: love/sex is needed. You’re inundated with the imagery day in and day out.

Genesis 1:26God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.”

9. Time to show you a little bit of the REAL Sonny. [open travel bag, pull out all contents]

10. These products are what I use on an almost-daily basis. Why? To look good. This is what I use/put on the outside.

11. Will I still use all this junk after I’m married? Yes. I will still use deodorant. Not because I need to make myself look good for Ashley so she’ll love me, but because I love her.

12. Why are we drawn to tabloids that show images of celebs in untouched photos? B/c we want to think “they look like me.” We connect with that. Something that’s more REAL than what’s shown on the screen

13. But so many times we want our love to be perfect, to be flawless. How many of you have remarked about/see the person you’re dating at the start of your relationship as “just perfect.”

14. Back to Batman – we didn’t watch the clip b/c I want you to all get capes and cowls and go fight crime. You know his story: lost parents, swallowed in anger, and in that scene, you learn he’d lost himself. “You have become truly lost.” How he needed to devote himself to something bigger.

15. Donald Miller: “And so I have come to understand that strength, inner strength, comes from receiving love as much as it comes from giving it. I think apart from the idea that I am a sinner and God forgives me, this is the greatest lesson I have ever learned. When you get it, it changes you.”

16. Even more REAL: on Thursdays, we (the leaders) sit down and go over what happened at the 706 the night before. What we planned that didn’t work, what we could’ve done better – things that none of you see.

17. In fact, many of you wouldn’t care about any mistakes we make. You’re here out of love (or just morbid curiosity) – you’re acting as God acts towards us – you don’t see the faults and cracks that we see.

18. You see us, people you love. God sees us, people He loves, and never our mistakes. Never our flaws. Genesis 1:26.

Matthew 10:8Freely you have received, freely give.

19. Dod – there are mistakes we’ve all made in the name of love. Physical love. Some of the hardest areas we have to let go of, because this is who we are. The inside, not the outside.

20. Raya. Ahava. Dod. Interconnected.

21. But we don’t have to let these mistakes define us. We might be in a prison – like Bruce Wayne – of our own choosing, here by choice. We might feel truly lost.

22. Genesis 1:26 – we reflect the nature of God. And I John 4:8 – God is love.

23. So just know this – you are known BY love.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Raya. Ahava. Dod.

Okay -- so a number of people* have asked me if they could ever see what my notes look like going in to Wednesday night when I teach at the 706. Granted, there's a lot that I write in the margin that you won't get to see,'s the basic outline from this past Wednesday night's little lesson:

* = "a number of people" actually just means means "my mom." She's the only one who's asked. So therefore I feel justified in posting this.

[update from the author (that would be Sonny) on 2-13-09: I've noticed that this page gets HECK of a lot of hits off of Google. Because of this, in case you - the net surfer extraordinaire that you are - might be interested in seeing an updated/slightly expanded version of this topic, head on over to

It is my eventual goal to come back and "clean up" this particular blog posting - simply because if anyone actually gets anything out of what's written here, I'm both humbled and astonished, given the scatter-shot manner in which my notes are outlined...]


Love Actually clip – intro/the scene where they're in the airport

1. I'll admit it – this is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not the most wholesome, and will never make ABC Family Channel, but that scene where the little kid is running through the airport? The "To Me, You Are Perfect" sign guy? The score? Come on.

2. The opening scene – that's real. Not actors. Those faces are real. Movie does go all Hollywood crazy in that people fall in love so easily, they have these great lives – the fakery of it all – and there is some questionable ways that these characters meet and fall "in love." And then, there's Hugh Grant dancing.

Romans 13:8Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along.

3. Josh McDowell: "Each one of you has two fears. One fear is that you will never be loved. Second is the fear that you will never be able to love someone."

4. Why do we watch romantic comedies, romance movies, read trashy romance novels? Because we want IT, we hope for it – even if we can't really say that to ourselves, we know we want to be known BY love and FOR love.

5. That's my focus on REEL LOVE vs REAL LOVE tonight. Because the REEL shows fakery. Love actually IS all around us. Love, not lust.

6. And if we just focus on the "Thou Shalt Not's" and we don't show you how to do the "Shalt's" in the way God intended, then that's just as fake – as one-sided – as the "always-end-on-a-happy-ending" REEL love stories you've seen.

7. I love coffee. Some would say unnaturally so. I love pizza. And I love Maggie & Cricket, my dogs. I love Ashley, and in less than three months, we're going to get married. But is the same love that I say that I love her with the same love that I use when I say that I love how a pair of jeans look really good on me? Or when I love your hair?

8. Bryan spoke about love two weeks ago, and again on Sunday quoting from a book called the Song of Solomon or Song of Songs.
a. 4:7 – You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless
b. 8:7 – Flood waters can't drown love, torrents of rain can't put it out. Love can't be bought, love can't be sold —it's not to be found in the marketplace.
c. 1:2 – Kiss me—full on the mouth! Yes! For your love is better than wine, headier than your aromatic oils

9. Book originally written in Hebrew, using three (3) words for love – not the ones you normally hear us talking about (agape, etc.):
a. Raya – friend, someone to hang with – root of Bryan's name?
b. Ahava – love of commitment, dedicating oneself to someone
c. Dod – physical, sexual love

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there's no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.

10. We were created to experience all three.

11. Three is a very sacred number in the Bible -- # of days Jesus was buried before His resurrection; Trinity; man-woman-God (Adam-Eve-God); body-soul-spirit

Proverbs 3:3Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Love actually IS all around us.

12. Ever known anyone who gives 1/3 or 2/3 of love – of themselves – but not all of love/to love? I haven't. Not always. Some dod, some ahava, some raya – but God wants the best for us. God wants us to give all three, and not accept that the REEL parts of love that are shown aren't that REAL.

13. Yeah, it sounds corny, it sounds clich├ęd, but it's REAL.