Erwin McManus says that “every one of us have these intrinsic cravings—intimacy, destiny, and meaning—because they are soul cravings. These cravings are the fingerprints of God on our soul.” In the same context, I like to cite M Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable: “That little bit of sadness in the mornings you spoke of? I think I know what that is. Perhaps you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.” Either way, the point is that there’s a very good chance that those in your small group are not living out of the new heart that God has given them; that they are not drawing from their truest identity.

Whether it’s the lies of our culture or from something deep in their own stories or destructive relationships or the many other sinister messages around us, we wake up with that “little bit of sadness” each day. The new small-group resource from Erwin McManus CRAVE, available for purchase today, has been created to help groups and group members confront the things that prevent us from being all that God has created us to be. CRAVE: An Exploration of the Human Spirit asks groups to tap deep into who they have become not only better to understand the deep longings of their souls, but to demolish the little bit of sadness that continues to haunt so many of us.

“That little bit of sadness in the mornings you spoke of? I think I know what that is. Perhaps you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”
the movie Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakable gets lost in the recent spike in superhero movies: Spiderman, Batman, Ironman, Hancock, The Fantastic Four, Superman—even Laura Croft. Admittedly, part of the problem is that Unbreakable was released more than 8 years ago and was the follow-up to writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s wildly acclaimed The Sixth Sense. If you haven’t seen Unbreakable, the movie focuses on David Dunn–a man who has never been sick, never been hurt, the only survivor of a horrific train wreck, and who can bench press a ton of weight. Even though all the signs are there, he never, not once, stops to wonder if he has been created to be more than a security guard. Instead, like the man by the pool at Bethesda, he is content to greet each day the same, allowing today to flow seamlessly and effortless into tomorrow (John 5:4ff). See, David Dunn is a superhero cut from the same cloth as the ones mentioned above, yet he has never donned a cape, attempted a rescue, searched his heart, been touched with passion, or even tried to fly.

Have you stopped to wonder why these superhero movies are so successful? Really, the plot lines are fairly consistent, yet the lines at the box office aren’t getting any shorter. It could be that we sense a greater calling on our own lives; that we’re all struggling to find the superhero dwelling within and we allow ourselves—maybe even prefer—to be satisfied watching superhero-ness played out on the screen. Scripture can support this reaction to that “little bit of sadness”.

  • You are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6)
  • You are God’s “work of art,” created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10)
  • You’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • Christ Himself is in you (Colossians 1:27)
  • You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

The truth is, yes, we are more than tainted by the fall and Original Sin. We cannot begin to fathom what was lost, but neither can we begin to fathom what we have to re-gain. And maybe the taint resulting from the events of Genesis 3 and the stain of sin—as true as this is—do not represent what is truest about us.

Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God delights in us with shouts of joy. When we talk about redemptive community, we’re advocating a community that works together to demolish the enemy’s strongholds in the lives of group members. We’re advocating a community working together to help each member find the superhero inside. True, honest, and authentic redemptive community creates an environment in which the Holy Spirit can work in making us become more than what we are.