Sunday, December 4th
While most of us are preparing for Christmas, millions of displaced people around the world are wondering what the future holds and whether or not they’ll see home again. It’s a sobering thought. The question is — should we care? Does this matter to us? And why would we talk about this leading into Christmas?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family to talk through what you’re learning!
- When you hear the word “refugee,” what’s comes to mind?
- What questions and feelings have been raised for you as you’ve heard about the current refugee crisis? Were you aware and what do you think about the reality that Austin is home to 12,000 refugees?
- Read Luke 2:1-14. Refugees are displaced from their homes and countries with little or nothing of their own. In what ways is the Christmas story like a story of a refugee? Why do you think Jesus chose to leave His heavenly home and live as a refugee among us?
- Read Leviticus 19:33-34; 23:22. What do these Scriptures, about God instructing the Israelites to care for the foreigners among them, reveal about His heart for refugees? What was God’s reason for this instruction to the Israelites, and how does that apply to us now
- Read Matthew 25:31-40. If we say we follow Jesus, how is Jesus describing we demonstrate that in these Scriptures? Where do you have resistance or what is challenging for you about this?
- During this Christmas season, how are you willing to engage with the plight of refugees here in Austin and around the world? Look at the Digging Deeper section on the other side for suggestions.
Luke 2:1-14 — At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Leviticus 19:33-34; 23:22 — Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God…. When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.
Matthew 25:31-40 — But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
- Seeking Refuge Discussion Guide — Drawing from history, public policy, psychology, many personal stories and their own unique Christian worldview, three experts from World Relief offer a nuanced and compelling portrayal of the plight of refugees and the extraordinary opportunity we have to love our neighbors as ourselves. Dig deeper, with friends or your Life Group, into the topic of our current refugee crisis by downloading this discussion guide.
- Refugee Connect — Gateway partners with local organizations who help meet the physical, relational and spiritual needs of refugees right here in Austin. Learn more at GatewayChurch.com/Refugees about how you can get involved!
- Germany Go! Team — May 6-13 — Consider joining our Go! Team headed for Germany in 2017 that will be serving refugees in Berlin! Get more details at GatewayChurch.com/GoTeams.
- Give Towards Our 2016 Year-End Goal — Every dollar we receive over our normal operating budget this month will go towards creating safe spaces for refugee families and their children here in Austin and around the world. Our combined goal, for our 3 Austin locations, of $500,000 will create safe places for 2000 refugee children & family members! Learn more & give at GatewayChurch.com/Refugees.
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES — Serve
- Learn more about making a difference in the lives of refugees by working through the SERVE outcome.