Sermon Notes

January 14th- Swipe Right

We want and need to be loved and to give love. We want and need connection and connection that is not jaded, exhausted and burnt out. We could all use a love song.

But connecting, “swiping right” is not easy. Life, hurts and hang ups get in the way. We want a sweet and simple love song.


This morning we are using the idea of tinder, or swiping Right to look at vulnerability. To examine if we are designed for and thrive when we are open to relationships and to the truth about ourselves. This is actually going to be a tougher sell than you think…


Vulnerability is derived from the Latin word “vulnerare”, meaning “to wound”…the definition literally means “capable of being wounded” or “open to attack or damage.”


Much like Jesus’ pitch for Christianity “take up your cross and follow me”…this concept may not be appealing at first.


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (SHOW BOOK COVER)…while John was reading GRIT…


John’s GRIT score 3.7, vs. mine 4.7. People aren’t easy for me. Getting easier, but still I struggle.


There is something in us that craves vulnerability…

We love raw truth and openness in other people, stories where we see “behind the scenes” or the “real part” of someone’s story. We want people to be real, open and honest with us, to be vulnerable, but we are afraid to do that ourselves. I fully believe that if I came to anyone in this room, well, most anyone, and said “I need to share something with you that is honest and vulnerable” you would listen and probably be thankful I thought enough to open up to you, but then you do not give yourself the same space.


We were made for connection…


Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”


But right out of the gate we are tempted to disconnect. The garden, the serpent convinces us connection to God is not all that we need. Cain allows insecurity and bad math to cloud his judgement. Over and over we see people disconnect with God throughout the examples in scripture and it’s only through learning that they cannot have a full life when they do, that we see them return.


“Our brain is wired for social acceptance and connection, and this is reinforced by our brain chemistry. So, the pain the results from social rejection and disconnection is real pain.” Brene Brown


CONNECTING with others can be tough.


We rarely succeed at anything “on our own”…

the biblical people we mentioned last week did not “get out of their comfort zone” on their own…

  • Moses had Aaron
  • Esther had Mordecai
  • Paul was rarely alone, even in prison…Barnabas, Timothy, Onesimus
  • Jesus did not do life alone…


Look at Jesus’ vulnerability with the disciples.


Matthew 26:38-40 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?


Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.


Men & Vulnerability…Brene Brown’s research


It is harder for men to be vulnerable…John joked last week, but it’s true.


Quote from a man at a conference when asking if she was researching vulnerability and shame in men, “We have shame. Deep shame. But when we reach out and share our stories, we get the emotional “stuff” beat out of us…and before you say anything about guys being tough on guys like coaches and fathers and brothers…my wife and daughters, the ones you signed all those books for, they would rather see me die on top of my white horse than watch me fall off. You say you want men to be vulnerable and real, but c’mon. You can’t stand it.”


Some how we have associated vulnerability with weakness.


So we make masks and armor. Guys and girls. A mask of strength, a mask of busyness, an armor or toughness, a shield of independence, or a surface level vulnerability and disguises us. But we forget, masks worn all the time become suffocating, and armored is not meant to be carried 24/7.


“Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are NEVER weakness.” Brene Brown


1 Corinthians 2:3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.


Men uniquely want to be successful!


Men, more often avoid anything that threatens them feeling successful.


We must change our understanding of success!

We need to see failure as an important part of success.


Learning from failure:


J.K. Rowling – She emphasized this in a commencement address she gave at Harvard University in 2008: “Failure meant a stripping away of the essential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and I began to direct all my energies to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive… and so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”


Abraham Lincoln

  • 1832 – Lost Job, defeated for state legislature
  • 1833 – Business he started fails
  • 1835 – Personal love (Ann Rutledge) dies
  • 1836 – Suffers from nervous breakdown
  • 1838 – Defeated after running for Illinois House Speaker
  • 1843 – Defeated in nomination for Congress
  • 1848 – Lost renomination for Congress
  • 1854 – Defeated in his run for Senate, 1854
  • 1856 – Defeated in his nomination for vice president, 1856
  • 1858 – Defeated in run for Senate

Finally, in 1860 Lincoln was elected President. And the rest, as they say, is history.



Sir Richard Branson Virgin Records music label & Virgin Atlantic airline “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them. He also refused to let failure keep him from getting back up and moving forward. Here’s a list of some of his failed ventures: Virgin Cola, Virgin Clothes, Virgin Money, Virgin Vision, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Wine, Virgin Jeans, Virgin Brides, Virgin Cosmetics and Virgin Cars. In 1992, to keep his airline company afloat, Branson sold the Virgin Record label. Branson said that he wept when the sale was completed because the record business had been the very start of the Virgin empire. Branson’s current estimated net worth at $5.1 billion


Thomas EdisonWho famously said about his light bulb work “I have not failed, I have simply found 10,000 ways that wont work”.


“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”’


“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.


“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”.


“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.


Doing more by asking!


Stand on the shoulders of others success


We have lost apprenticeship!

We now go straight from education to competition


Another way to open up, is to select someone wiser and farther down the road to open up to… “MENTORING”


There is a knowing that does not come without mentoring


Biblical examples of apprenticeship

Moses and Joshua

12 disciples

Paul studied under Gamaliel

Timothy and Titus under Paul


How do we work smarter not harder when we don’t have StreetSmarts?

Education needs practical applications


We must seek out mentors… BUT Mentors are busy so it is the student that has to take the responsibility to work with the mentors availability.

  • By a lunch
  • Work for free
  • Books, are a great mentoring tool also.


Even talented people need to grow.

Joseph and David examples


All of the research Brene Brown did kept pointing back to one thing…those people that seemed to live the most full and rich lives were vulnerable.


Jeremiah 29:14…everyone knows 29:11…and we all want that for ourselves and others…but keep reading. This is said to a very “disconnected/disengaged” nation.


11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord.


Some of us are trapped, but the majority are trapped in a prison we have created, we are captive and we hold the key, we are hiring the guards that keep us imprisoned.


But living life with vulnerability is tough…it’s a tightrope.


“When we stop caring what people think we lose our capacity for connection. When we become determined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope.” Brene Brown


BUT…”working to stay open and at the same time to keep boundaries in place is worth all that energy and risk.”


Our Challenge to you…make a decision this morning to be vulnerable and to do your part to move “toward someone”…

– If you are in a marriage where you have become roommates rather than spouses, where you are checked out, where you are disconnected…make a choice to do what you can to move closer. To reconnect. To reengage with the team.

– If life’s pace or the season you are in has caused you to not focus on having healthy and consistent friendships and connections…make a choice to make that a priority.

– If you find your faith journey stagnant, do something different, join a small group, get a mentor, seek counsel and go to the next level to connect more.


Do something TODAY to make yourself even a little more vulnerable.


BUT BE REALISTIC PLEASE…ever had a child tell you they don’t like something but they haven’t even tried a bite. Or, they try one tiny little bite or just lick the end of their fork and declare it no good? That’s how I feel when people aren’t willing to try a small group, or counseling or serving. When they aren’t willing to even give it a chance. Or, and sometimes even more frustrating…they come twice and say “I didn’t connect”. Five or six years ago we gave a 100 day challenge. And we still do from time to time, but originally it was for small groups. Try a group for 100 days, attending once a week, and if you don’t like it…


And remember, the very definition of vulnerable opens you up to hurt. Deb Smith’s statement about her first Sunday at GodWhy. How often I am working with someone on their marriage and we make a plan and they start to walk it out and the person still hurts them…”see they did _____, this isn’t going to work.”…did we think it was going to be fast? Did we think one try was going to do it? If our kids fell down and decided never to ride a bike, run, or try again we would push them…we may need to push ourselves.



Be someone to be “counted on” and open yourself up to “count on someone” even with the risk.

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