Sunday, October 26, 2008

People of Refuge

This week my small group curriculum reminds us that since people matter to God, they had better matter to us. We must be people of refuge.

Big Idea:
People are hurting and are in desperate need of a refuge. As children of God, we know that the Lord is our refuge. But, what are we doing to share our place of refuge with the rest of the world?

God is a refuge for those who put their trust in Him. Refuge is defined as protection or shelter from danger or hardship; a source of help, relief, or comfort in times of trouble; a place of safety, healing, and redemption. Our God is certainly all of these and more. He is there to protect us from the dangers of life, and shelter us in each of the storms we go through. As God’s children, we are called to be like Christ and show the characteristics of God to a hurting and dying world. Therefore, we must be people of refuge, and the church must be a place of refuge.

What does it mean to be people of refuge? (1) Being a person of refuge starts with loving others. Christ tells us that our love for one another will prove to the world that we are His disciples (John 13:35). People matter most to God and they must matter most to us. (2) If people really matter, then we must treat them with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12). People of refuge display God’s grace through generous gestures and acts of kindness. (3) People of refuge forgive one another just as they have been forgiven by God Himself. Offenses, accusations, bitterness, and the critical spirit are definitely not characteristics of refuge. (4) People of refuge let the light of Christ shine brightly in their lives. Jesus instructs us to, “let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). By letting the light of Christ shine, we are directing people to the true place of ultimate refuge – the almighty, living, and loving God.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

1 John 4:7-21
Why is love so important? How does love help create a place of refuge? Can we be people of refuge without love? Discuss how we can show love to those in need of refuge.

Ephesians 4:32
Compassion and forgiveness are refuge characteristics. In what ways do you show others compassion and generosity? Share your story if you have been the recipient of these characteristics. Why is forgiveness so important?

Matthew 5:13-16
Why do Christians have a unique ability and responsibility to be people of refuge? Discuss examples of how we can shine the light of Christ in this world? Share testimonies.

Taking Action:
Are you a person of refuge? Are you a safe place for the needy and the hurting? Ask God to fill you with His grace to become a person of refuge. Look for opportunities this week to love others, show compassion, offer generous gestures, forgive others, and let the light of Christ shine brightly through you. Be Christ to this hurting world.

Ministry Time

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