This series will focus on the Christmas stories told in Isaiah, Matthew, Luke and John. We will examine each of the Gospels and explore the significance of each telling for each contextual relevance and theme so we can better understand the meaning of Christmas together. 

 

Unexpected Hope

Text: Isaiah 7:14-16; 9:2-7; 11:1-10; 42:1-4; 53:1-6 

In this first week of our Christmas series we will examine the promise hope that Christmas brings. 700 years before Jesus was born – the people of Israel fell into chaos and their lives were turned upside down. The nation was conquered and many were killed and/or enslaved. During the darkest of times in their history – the greatest of promises was foretold. Christmas is a continual reminder that the promise of Jesus offers us hope beyond our circumstances – even the darkest ones. Israel expected a warrior King to come and rid them of their oppressors, but Jesus came to unexpectedly bring rescue and from sin – in the darkest seasons of our lives. 

Deeper Dive Questions:

  1. When was the last time you were truly surprised by an unexpected gift?
  2. What unexpected hope do you find in the prophecy of Isaiah?
  3. Where is your hope right now?
  4. Does your hope align with the Bible’s promise of hope through Jesus?
  5. How can you share the unexpected hope of Jesus with others this Christmas season?

Unexpected Relationship

Text: John 1:1-14; John 14:6-7 

John’s gospel is written almost exclusively to the believers in Asia minor. His focus is more theological and speaks to the spiritual realities of Jesus. His early statements on Jesus’ birth center around creation and the New Creation in Jesus – as well as the possibility for Gentiles to be part of God’s new creation and family. In a world and culture surrounded by “gods” that were distance, cruel, and preferred to be separate from humanity (only interacting when they wished to torment) – John offers a reality of God that shocks and amazes. God became a human who could be known, understood, related to. Christmas offers us the chance to know and be known by God in a powerful and unique way. 

Deeper Dive Questions:

  1. Have you ever had a “where is God” moment?
  2. How does John present the “Christmas story” different than Matthew and Luke?
  3. Through Jesus we can have unexpected intimacy with God. How does this impact your daily relationship with God?
  4. What area(s) of your life do you need to invite God intimately in to?
  5. How can you share the unexpected intimacy of God with others this Christmas season?

Unexpected Destiny 

Text: Matt 1:18-25; Matthew 2; Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:6 

From the beginning of His gospel – Matthew makes it clear that the birth of Jesus is going to upend peoples’ lives. Mary and Joseph’s lives are upended and their fortunes and futures reversed. Herod’s life is upended and reversed. Christmas tells a remarkable reality that God continually chooses to work through the humble and against the proud in nature. 

 

Deeper Dive Questions:

  1. If you were to make a list of 5-7 values, what would be on your list? That is, what do you put your time and energy into pursuing?
  2. What does your list say about the condition of your heart?
  3. Christmas teaches us a different value than our culture. What do you make of the value of humility?
  4. What do you think of Herod the Great? Of Mary?
  5. Mary’s humility sets her apart from people like Herod the Great. How can you invite the value of humility into your life this Christmas season?

Unexpected Interruptions 

Text: Luke 1-2 

From the beginning of His gospel – Luke makes it clear that the birth of Jesus is going to interrupt peoples’ lives. Elizabeth and Zechariah lives are interrupted. Mary and Joseph are interrupted. The shepherds are interrupted. Christmas reminds us that God wants to interrupt our lives in big and small ways – He wants our attention and wants us to see what He is doing. He also wants to interrupt our sinful patterns and the old order of things. Christmas invites us to expect interruption. Will we welcome interruption in order to become everything God made us to be. 

Deeper Dive Questions:

  1. How do you feel about interruptions?
  2. Why might we tend to view interruptions negatively and go to great lengths to avoid them?
  3. Roughly 65% of Jesus’ teaching and ministry was either a result of, or came directly from, interruptions. What do you make of this?
  4. How are we to discern between interruptions that unexpectedly invite us into God’s work versus interruptions that distract us from doing God’s work on this earth?
  5. During this Christmas season, what interruption in your life may actually be an invitation from God?

Unexpected Christmas  

Text: Luke 1-2 

This is a stand-alone devotional on the significance of Christmas this year and the need for our old lives to be interrupted by the breaking in of Jesus! 

BE UNEXPECTED MOVEMENT

In every way, Jesus is unexpected – the way he was born, the way he lived, his miracles, his death, resurrection, and the new life he brings. We want to follow the example of Jesus this Christmas by doing something special for our communities.

The BE UNEXPECTED MOVEMENT is a way for Fearless Followers to engage with people in the places they live, work and play. There are lots of ways to show an act of kindness or generosity all around you. Ask God to show you someone who could use something unexpected this Christmas season.

We will have Christmas cards available at all of our churches that will have a message of hope and you will have the opportunity to write a note of encouragement along with a gift or act of kindness or generosity. Take these ideas, or come up with your own and invite them to join you this Christmas at your church. Let’s help people take one step closer to Jesus this Christmas. 

GIFTS OF GENEROSITY

  • BUY A TANK OF GAS FOR SOMEONE
  • GIVE A GIFT CARD TO YOUR FAVORITE STORE
  • TIP YOUR WAITRESS EXTRA
  • PAY FOR SOMEONE’S GROCERIES
  • BUY THE GAS STATION ATTENDANT A COKE
  • PAY FOR THE PERSON BEHIND YOU IN LINE
  • BRING SOMEONE COFFEE
  • BUY A CARWASH FOR SOMEONE
  • BUY A PRESENT FOR SOMEONE

ACTS OF KINDNESS

  • BAKE SOMEONE COOKIES
  • SHOVEL A DRIVEWAY
  • USE YOUR SKILL TO HELP SOMEONE
  • DRAW / COLOR A PICTURE
  • BABYSIT FOR SOMEONE
  • MAKE A MEAL FOR SOMEONE
  • WRITE AN ENCOURAGING NOTE
  • RUN AN ERRAND FOR SOMEONE

Video Collection from Be Unexpected Movement

WATCH OUR TEACHINGS HERE

Check out the word of the Day to go deeper into the discussion!