LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of November 10, 2019
Click here for a full archive.
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
These notes are designed to be a resource as you lead your Life Group each week.
Goals for the Evening:
- Group Plans for the Winter Quarter. Begin to talk about the end of the quarter and people’s plans for the Winter Quarter.
- Discuss the study questions and take Communion together
- Pray together
NO LIFE GROUPS OVER THANKSGIVING
Just a reminder that there will be no Life Groups held over Thanksgiving Week, November 24-30.
- Last Week of Life Group: December 1 – 7
- Winter Sign-Ups: January 4 & 5 and 11 & 12
- Winter Quarter: January 12 – March 14
FEEDBACK FORMS COMING NEXT WEEK
Next week everyone in your group will receive an email with a link to the Feedback Form. Please take the time in your Life Group to fill out the form online together. More info next week. Senior Groups will be sent hard copies.
NEW LEADER & HOST RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE WINTER QUARTER
We’re starting to make plans for the Winter Quarter. Do you have anyone in your group who is ready to lead or host a new group? Please let your Station-in-Life Pastor know of any potential leaders/hosts for the Winter Quarter. You can do this by including their names in the comment box when you submit your attendance or by clicking on “Recommend a Leader/Host” on the Leader Tools page.
Submit your group’s attendance online at northcoastchurch.com/attendance. If you’re not sure how to post attendance, you can check out the guide here. Don’t forget to let us know of any roster updates that you know of, or changes to your meeting day, time or location for the Fall quarter when you submit your attendance.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time, or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- Chris mentioned his experience taking Communion as a kid and how the historical significance of Passover and Communion were not explained to him. Do you have any memories or experiences of taking Communion during your childhood?
This question can be helpful to see what everyone’s experience is with Communion. It will vary depending on church background.
- This weekend, Chris set up a Passover meal (Seder) and described how each item represents part of the slavery story in Egypt. What were your thoughts as Chris explained the Seder meal? How might knowing the significance of the Seder meal better help someone understand Communion?
This question will help bring out how each person experienced Chris’ demonstration in his message. There is a good chance many people may see the connection between Passover and Communion for the first time.
Additional Question: This week we celebrate Veteran’s day, a time to remember military veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Often, we use holidays, rituals, and other such things to help us remember important moments in our lives. Based on your family experience, are there things that you have used or use now to help you remember significant moments in your life?
Discussion Note: You will want to make sure to discuss Digging Deeper question three as it leads to Communion with your group. You will probably only have time for two questions so feel free to choose between question one or two in this Digging Deeper section.
- As we heard in the sermon, Jesus initiated the first Communion knowing Judas would betray Him, the disciples would desert Him and Peter would deny Him. In John 13:1-17, we see the events leading up to the Passover meal (first Communion). What choices and actions do you see Jesus making in response to the knowledge that He is about to be betrayed, abandoned and crucified by those closest to Him?
John 13:1-17 – It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
The passage above is from John’s Gospel. John expands the Passover meal into an entire upper room experience. John makes an intentional choice to introduce the story by telling us about Jesus watching the disciple’s feet (typically the job of a servant). In the midst of Jesus celebrating the old Covenant (the Passover meal) He is also establishing a new Covenant (through the Communion with the bread and wine). He does all of this, knowing he’s about the be betrayed and abandoned. Even though Jesus knows that He will be alone as He heads to the cross, He still serves them by washing their feet; He’s giving them a specific example of what the new Covenant and kingdom look like.
If you had been sitting around the table with the disciples, what do you think your response would have been to what you just witnessed?
How might this passage give us insight into what Jesus thinks about us?
- What does it look like to “wash someone’s feet” in today’s culture? (think: marriage, family/kids, workplace, neighborhood, friend circles, dating relationships etc.)
- What would be an appropriate response if someone serves you in this way?
- What does servant leadership look like in your life? How does Jesus set the standard for servant leadership?
- As Christians, we participate in Communion to help us remember Jesus’ sacrifice. Paul gives the church in Corinth more detailed instructions for taking Communion, including some important things to keep in mind during this time of remembrance. Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 and write down anything that stands out to you.
1 Corinthians 11:23-29 – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
Note: vs.27 – speaks of an “unworthy manner” – this is not asking us to make ourselves worthy for Communion (we can’t make ourselves worthy). This is simply asking us to prepare our heart to receive, it’s a heart posture. vs.28 – “examine” here is not intended to exclude people from Communion but to have the appropriate heart posture.
In verse 28, we see that God’s judgment is one reason Paul instructs us to examine ourselves. What do you think of when you hear the term “self-examination”?
This is a great way to explore the topic of self-examination or self-awareness without it being on a personal level yet.
How might self-examination grow someone’s appreciation for the gift of God’s grace and mercy?
Note: As we self-examine, we further realize and understand the depths of our brokenness and we can more fully appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for us. The more we take time to examine ourselves, the larger our appreciation for grace and mercy grows. Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined the term “cheap grace” in the book, “The Cost of Discipleship.” He defined it as, “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance… communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” In other words, cheap grace is the benefits without the costs. As we prepare for the benefits of Communion (mercy/grace/forgiveness), examination helps us understand the costs (Jesus death and punishment because of our brokenness and sin). The goal isn’t to be hyper critical but to have the posture of a repentant heart.
Since we all respond in different ways, is self-examination something that comes easily to you or is it more of a struggle?
We all approach examining different. Some may be very self-critical. Some may be critical on others. Some may not be critical at all. This helps point us toward self-awareness.
- Read Psalm 139:23-24. How might this passage help us to self-examine
- What are some helpful ways someone can self-examine?
- What are some ways someone could increase their self-awareness?
- Taking Communion is about remembering what Jesus accomplished through His death on the cross and His resurrection. It’s through this sacrifice that God’s grace and mercy are made available to us. After reading through the verses below, what else is available to us because of His sacrifice?
Discussion Note: Have different people read the verses out loud one by one and have people discuss what is available because of Jesus. These verses are intended to set up communion. See the Communion Guide.
Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 2:18 – For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Colossians 1:13-14 – 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Which one of these is most encouraging to you? Which one are you most likely to forget?
As you think about what it cost Jesus to make these benefits available to you, take a moment to thank Him for paying the price.
This week we will be taking Communion together as a Life Group. At North Coast we like to celebrate Communion where church happens – in our Life Groups. In preparation for that, read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Listen to the Leader Audio for more detail.
*We typically do communion on the last meeting of each quarter. Because this week’s sermon covers communion, we decided to move it up in the quarter. We still plan to have a great closing time to wrap up the quarter.
PURPOSE: Explain that we want to take communion together by remembering Christ’s death and resurrection.
Video Option: There is a 5-minute video where Chris Brown walks your through communion. Feel free to use this: https://vimeo.com/371793842
READ: Use the 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 passage above to take you into Communion. You can ask for people’s responses to verses, or just comment on them yourself.
DISTRIBUTE: Pass the bread, give a prayer of thanks to God for it, and eat together. Pass the cup, thank God for it, and drink together.
Worship Option: Below are some possible worship songs you can use on a tablet / iPad or TV for a time of worship and reflection. Don’t feel like you need to sing these songs together (although you are welcome to), this can be music playing in the background to help us examine and reflect.
PRAY: Move into prayer time, thanking Jesus for his commitment to love us and how He is working in our lives, as people have shared in your group.
Looking back at this week’s message and study, what’s most important for you to remember and why?