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Worn
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
08/23/2013

Dynamic ImageThe Song: Worn by Tenth Avenue North

Main Point of Discussion: Although the circumstances of life may wear us down, Christ renews us inwardly and gives us hope for eternity.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • Tenth Avenue North has been a fixture atop the Billboard Christian charts since their first single “Love is Here” was released in 2008. If your kids listen to Christian music, at all, they have probably heard some of their music.

  • This song is particularly important to the band that produced it. Lead singer Mike Donehey nearly died in a brutal car accident as a teenager. It left him with a broken back, unable to move from bed for months, and effectively ruined his lifelong dream of playing sports. Donehey says it was during this time, however, that he first picked up a guitar and learned to play. Years later, his music has touched the lives of millions across the world. It was through this difficult and painful experience that God made (as the lyrics state) “a song to rise from the ashes of a broken life.”

  • The song, Worn, comes from Tenth Avenue North’s most recent album, The Struggle. Both the song and album wrestle with some of the most difficult issues of faith, such as finding God in the midst of suffering. The song, Worn, is quite similar to many of the Psalms in that it depicts the deep turmoil and pain that people experience in life; yet it expresses the profound longing for God to bring hope out of the midst of seemingly hopeless situations, and the belief that He is at work in the midst of it all.

  • The song comes from a Christian band and is focused on themes of redemption and purposeful life. It is completely clean, along with the accompanying music video. (If you would like to know more about the Donehey’s personal story, you can check out this 4 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGJS5MLgMZc.)

Introducing the Song:
Tenth Avenue North has been one of the most popular Christian artists around during the last few years. I’d like for us to watch a music video from their new song,
Worn. The song wrestles with some very difficult feelings that most of us have probably had before. The video uses some powerful imagery and symbolism to remind us of the hope that we have as Christians. Let’s check it out together.

The Music Video: The video can be purchased on ITunes or viewed for free here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zulKcYItKIA



Song Lyrics:

I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn

Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What was the main message in Tenth Avenue North’s song?
    A:
    The singer is reminding himself, even in the midst of his pain, that “all that’s dead inside can be reborn.” He knows that this includes him!

    Q: What was the significance of the leaves and bodies rising from the ground? How did that tie in with the lyrics to the song?
    A:
    It was imagery of hope. Even though we’ve fallen, even though we’ve failed, even though we’re beat up and hurting, God can raise us up.

    Q: Clearly Tenth Avenue North feels worn down by the circumstances of life, but where does the singer say his hope comes from?
    A:
    From the One he prays to. From the One who can make the dead alive. From the only One who can bring life out of ashes. God.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

The musicians of Tenth Avenue North sound like they are simply exhausted, emotionally and physically. At times, all of us have probably felt that way. Yet, their song still expresses faith and hope that God is working in their lives. Can we have that same hope in our own lives? Let’s talk more about that for a few minutes.


More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we dive in, everybody take a second to say what class, chore, or task leaves you feeling the most worn out.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: From the lyrics or from the video, how would you describe the artist’s feelings?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In what ways can you relate to his feeling of being “worn”?

  4. Say something like this:
    Leaves that have fallen to the ground are what? Dead. They’re a symbol, a reminder that this world is dying—it’s wasting away. Yet, in the midst of what outwardly looks like death, we see God bring about new life. The video shows us that “all that’s dead inside can be reborn.” This seems backwards to us, but it’s how God can work. Out of the hardships, difficulties, and even tragedies in our own life, God can renew us with hope and new-life. Today we are going to look at a passage in the Bible that also expresses this feeling of being worn down by struggles and difficulties in life. Similar to the song though, it expresses this paradoxical hope that God can bring new life out of the midst of death and decay.


    Read the following passage from the Bible:

      2 Corinthians 4:7-18

      But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

      It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

      16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: From reading this Scripture, how would you say Paul, the writer, felt? What evidence do you see that he may have felt “worn”? (Parents - He says he feels hard pressed, perplexed, struck down, persecuted, he says death is at work in us, etc.)

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Despite his feeling worn, what cause for hope does Paul give us? How does he “let us see that redemption wins”?

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Verse 16 might be the key verse to understanding this entire passage. It says that “though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” What do you think this phrase means?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Paul does not finish with “wasted away.” He says that although outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. How do you think God renews people? (Parents - A lot of answers might make sense here, but there are two ways that really stand out. First, God is renewing us after the image of our Creator, meaning He is in the process of making us more like Christ. This is a process that goes on for our entire lives and is pushing towards the second, more complete sense. The second way is God renews us by giving strength and hope for eternity. No matter how bad life seems, Christians know that these struggles are not the final word in their story. One day they will be renewed in the eternal sense. This point is really driven home in verse 17.)

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: After reading verse 17, do you think Paul is saying that you shouldn’t face many difficulties as a Christian or that your life will be easy? Why or why not?

  10. Say something like this:
    Let’s turn over a few chapters and read something that I think will help answer this question for us. Listen to Paul, as he tells us about the trials he faced after he became a Christian.

    Read the following passage from the Bible:

      2 Corinthians 11:23-31

      23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city,in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

  11. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does this passage that we just read about Paul’s sufferings put our own suffering in perspective?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: How can this passage encourage you during difficult times? How can you remember these truths in the midst of difficulties?

Wrap Up:
Some of us may feel worn by the situations that we’ve faced in life: harsh words, names you’ve been called, struggles, broken relationships, etc. These things can leave us feeling exhausted.

The scriptures tell us though that when we accept Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. This scripture is reminding us that the same power that raised Christ from the dead now lives inside of us. When we feel worn, when we feel “crushed by the weight of this world,” when all seems lost, the power of Christ lives in us and it can renew us, strengthen us, and make us more into the person that God desires us to be. Ultimately, God renews us with the hope that we have of perfect and eternal life with Christ.

The scripture says that outwardly everything is wasting away, it’s decaying, it’s dying but inwardly we are being renewed.

There is one other important verse in this passage that we didn’t talk much about. Verse 7 says “but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Some people think what Paul might have been referring to here were these small clay pottery lamps that were sold in the Corinthian market.

The outside of these lamps were very fragile. They could chip or break quite easily, but what made the lamp valuable was not the outside; rather, it was the light on the inside that shone through all the cracks and the holes. Even as the outside became chipped, the light would just shine through all the more. The outside might have been brittle and worn, but the real power was on the inside.

This is what our lives as Christians are like. We are fragile people, we feel hurt at times, the weight of life feels like it may crush us; and although physically we are wasting away, our real strength comes from within. We have the Spirit of Christ within us that renews us daily by giving us strength and hope, regardless of what life may throw at us. No matter how worn down we may feel by the circumstances of life, nothing this world can throw at you, can ever take that light, that strength, or that hope, away from you

For outwardly we are wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed. Let’s thank God for that now.


Close in Prayer

Written by Brandon McCarroll


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