Australians Together

Part One      Part Two      Part Three      Part Four      Part Five     

AUSTRALIANS TOGETHER IS A FRESH APPROACH to building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians that seeks to plant a seed in peoples’ hearts and minds; the idea that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians can live in respectful, peer relationships with each other.

 


PART ONE

One of the core questions that every person asks at some point in their life is: who am I? What is my true identity? Our identity gives meaning to our lives and a perspective on how others see us. Identity comes from both our internal sense of being and our external sense of reality. Yet what happens when a core part of what makes up our identity is irreversibly altered? This is one of the many realities that our Indigenous brothers and sisters face and have to deal with in our modern Australian culture.

DISCOVER

Read Psalm 146:5-9. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

DISCUSS

1. If you have ever moved house, city or even country, you will have had a sense of how disruptive this can be. Take a moment to consider how you might feel if this was forced on you and you could never go back to what you had before? This has been the reality for many Indigenous families over the last 226 years. How would you feel? What would you grieve about? How might this change who you are?

2. What does the word “identity” mean to you?

3. What do you believe makes up your identity? How important is identity to you? With what communities do you associate your identity?

4. Read Micah 6:8. In the context of the Indigenous Australian issues, what does it mean to you to act justly? What does it mean to love mercy? How can we walk humbly with our God?

5. What responsibility do we as Christ followers have to speak up for those who are persecuted or treated unjustly? How does this apply to the Indigenous situation in Australia?

6. We are not responsible for the past but we can, with God, impact the present and future. Discuss.

RESPOND

While we may feel that we are not responsible for the past atrocities that have happened in our country, we do have a responsibility to be informed and to respond to the current realities of the injustice that we see. Take a moment now to ask God for discernment, compassion and understanding with regards to the many complex issues that we are exploring together. What next step can you take to be better informed about Indigenous issues?

 


PART TWO

Every day the rich man would come out of his house and he would walk past Lazarus and he would keep right on going. It was like he saw nothing and he knew nothing, so he did nothing. Maybe he thought: I deserve my wealth. I earned it from my own hard work and expertise. Maybe he thought: If there are people who have less than me they just didn’t work hard enough or were lazy, so why should I give my stuff away to them? Maybe he just got tired of all the need, all the hurt and he just stopped looking. And maybe he didn’t mean it, but he just stopped seeing a world full of broken people.

DISCOVER

Read Luke 16:19-31. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

DISCUSS

1. Take a moment to think of someone in your world who is so familiar to you, that you hardly notice them sometimes? Share.

2. Does God want to open your eyes to see the needs of that person or someone else close to you? How could you respond?

3. Take a moment to consider an opinion or attitude that you may hold that God may want you to consider alternate views on? What can you do about this?

4. Read Romans 12:19-21. How might some of these verses reflect a godly response in light of our indigenous people? Which of these verses do you find most confronting right now? Share.

5. Every person has certain prejudices and opinion. Some of these may well stem from our families of origin. Can you recognise any such influences in your life? How can we gain a balanced perspective on these views? What do we do when long held family views are not God honouring?

6. Often we form a position on an issue from our own experience or interaction with a person or group of people. This may be positive or negative. As a Christian, how can we gain God’s perspective on a given situation or experience? What can we do personally when we have had a negative encounter with another person or group of people?

RESPOND

For many of us, taking the next step in building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and living out the idea that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians can live in respectful, peer relationships with each other, is to take a journey of discovery about our nation’s past and the current challenges faced by Indigenous communities. With this in mind, take some time together to listen to some of the video stories at http://www.australianstogether.org.au/about. Share something that impacted you and then pray for one of the people you listened to.

 


PART THREE

We often hear that the battle that we are in is a spiritual battle. Yet we sometimes live blissfully unaware of that fact. When we are aware or are made aware of the battle that rages in the ‘heavenly realm’, how incredible is it to know that we have a high priest in Jesus who intercedes for us before His Father in heaven?

DISCOVER

Read Luke 22:31-33. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

DISCUSS

1. What do you think this statement means: ‘the disproportionate influence of a leader’? Can you think of leadership intervention that brought significant change to an outcome? Discuss

2. The legacy that we leave by our influence on others may well be our greatest contribution to the work of the kingdom. Discuss

3. What can we do to speak or act on behalf of the indigenous community in Australia today?

4. Daniel Matthews confronted the powers of his day regarding the treatment of indigenous people. His legacy was passed down through the generations that he impacted. Whose life are you impacting right now?

5. Do you have people in your life whom you can imitate?

RESPOND

Spend some time in your group – or alone – and ask God what the profound work is that He wants to do in your life just now. Share any images, words, impressions of experiences that might hint at what God is saying to you. God does a profound work in us so that He can do a profound work through us. Whose lives are you impacting just now? Only eternity will reveal the impact of our lives.

 


PART FOUR

Much of our understanding of the gospel is bound up in cultural attire. Jesus spoke about this to the Pharisees, likening them to whitewashed tombs, who were concerned about their facade instead of their hearts. When we separate what the gospel actually is to any and all cultures, we find an expression of the gospel that Jesus displayed, that of a servant heart and accessibility not superiority or power. If we were to approach our Indigenous brothers and sisters with an attitude of Christlike servanthood and friendship, not superiority, we would have a very different starting place and potential relationship.

DISCOVER

Read Philippians 2:5-11. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

DISCUSS

1. What is the Gospel? How can it be translated to other cultures without losing its integrity? Discuss.

2. Read Deuteronomy 8:2-4 and 1 Peter 5:5b-7. What does it mean for God to humble us, versus when we are called to humble ourselves? How can this differ?

3. What does it mean for us to be inclusive of our Indigenous brothers and sisters?

4. What can we learn from the Indigenous people? What could we learn from them about God?

5. What do you need to be saved from?

RESPOND

We have heard much information over the past 4 weeks, but simply to have gained information would not be a enough. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to take that information and with it transform our heart. What are some of the attitudes and actions that God is prompting in you regarding the Indigenous people of Australia? Rather than looking for something to do as an expression of your response, what is God wanting first to change in you as a person? What does He want you to ‘be’ as a response?

 


PART FIVE – AUSTRALIANS TOGETHER 2016

We live in a great nation. But when we look closely, we see that something’s not right. Despite our nation’s wealth and success, many Indigenous Australians are living in fourth world conditions. We believe this is a reflection of the lingering injustices of colonisation, which has left a wound in our nation. We need to understand how the lack of relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians continues to perpetuate Indigenous disadvantage.

DISCOVER

Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?

DISCUSS

1. What is our responsibility as Christians to the first people of Australia?

2. If we are called to a ministry of reconciliation, what does that look like? (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

3. God expects us to grow in our faith, how do we do that?

4. What part does prayer, community and Bible reading have in your life?

5. Are there implications for us or our nation if we ignore this wound in the spirit of Australia ? Discuss.

6. What does it actually mean to present my body as a living sacrifice to God? (Romans 12:1) Discuss.

RESPOND

We know the majority of Australians want to see better outcomes for Indigenous people in our nation; stronger communities and healthier relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Unfortunately our Indigenous brothers and sisters top the statistics for many unenviable situations including incarceration, diabetes, domestic violence, shorter life expectancy, illiteracy and unemployment. There is a desire to see things change and it is our conviction that Jesus and the Gospel are at the centre of this potential. Here are some steps to learn more about out nation’s wound and begin your personal journey of understanding:

1. Watch SHARING OUR STORY Episode 1.

2. Read about the gap in the quality of life between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

3. Learn about intergenerational trauma and why it affects so many Indigenous people today.

4. Read about some of the particular challenges facing Indigenous young people.

 



Watch full sermons – Australians Together

 

Watch full sermon – Australians Together 2016

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