LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 25, 2020
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
MAN EVENT – We are unable to have our normal Real Man Weekend due to COVID-19, but we will be having a man event in its place. More details coming soon!
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS – We have some high needs projects. Check out our website for COVID-SAFE options to serve: northcoastcommunityservice.org
We do believe it is important for Jesus followers to think through and process how they are going to vote and engage in politics. But due to the polarizing nature of our current political climate, we want to keep our Life Group meetings free of politics and focused on relationships with each other and Jesus/God’s Word.
Presenting the Good News of Jesus’ saving grace to all, and the unity we have as believers is vitally important to us. In light of this, remember to keep politics completely out of your Life Group discussions. We exist to minister to everyone who wants to know Jesus. Every election cycle we have Christians who become divided over issues and can be deeply offended by comments, jokes, and even prayer requests. We do not want to send the message that people who vote a certain way or have differing political views are not welcome. If someone in your group starts to take things in a political direction (be it with humor, a rant or even a “prayer request” for a specific outcome), gently remind them that the body of Christ (and North Coast Church) is made up of followers of Jesus – some of whom are Republicans, Independents, Democrats, etc.
Special note about this week’s topic of “Becoming a Power Couple”: This week’s Life Group discussion questions are designed to be helpful to all of us regardless of marital status.
KEEPING YOUR GROUP TIME SENSITIVE TO SINGLES: We know that many people in Life Groups are unmarried. This week’s questions have been written so that everyone can answer them, whether married or unmarried. It is important to know that Paul said it is good to be single and that he wishes everyone were single as he was (1 Corinthians 7). We want to affirm singles with that truth from Scripture, being sensitive to anyone who is not married. We have provided multiple question options to choose from to customize your Life Group session to your group members, whether you have marrieds, singles or a mix of both. As a reminder, the goal of a successful meeting is to hear from everyone and keep God’s word at the center. For couple groups: If there are any questions you believe would be a good fit for your group to discuss in men only / women only, keep that in mind as an option.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. Christopher talked this weekend about the two “secret ingredients” for us to have in both marriage and singleness in order to be like a “power couple.” Can you think of one or two additional “ingredients” you believe are essential for being influential and effective in God’s kingdom and living in a way that impacts others around you?
2. Can you think of any people in your life who have done marriage or singleness exceptionally well? If so, what stands out to you about them?
Do you see any principles from this weekend’s sermon evident in their lives?
Additional Question: This weekend, Christopher shared principles for becoming a “power couple” in marriage. Looking back on the home you grew up in, which of these principles was most evident? Are there any you wish would have been more evident?
1. This weekend, we looked at the power couple of Priscilla and Aquila and their important role in the history of the church. Christopher spoke about how humility helps us to be the kind of people who leave an impact on others and make a mark in the kingdom of God the way this couple did. How could the following verses help us understand what humility looks like in our lives or our marriages?
Philippians 2:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Humility looks like putting others first, not seeking after my own agenda, being committed to having one mind and one spirit, being a team player, etc.
Psalm 25:8-12 New International Version (NIV)
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
Humility looks like being able to be instructed by God (teachable). Humble people fear the Lord and take His instruction.
James 3:13-17 New International Version (NIV)
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Humility looks like not being envious, selfish, boasting or denying the truth. Envy and selfish ambition cannot coexist with humility. Wisdom and humility are often closely connected (vs. 13). Being peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere often describe people who are also humble.
Which one or two principles regarding humility in these verses present the biggest challenge to us and our natural tendencies?
- Do you see any of the four points about humility from the sermon notes reflected in these verses? (Makes us teachable, makes us apologizers, makes us sacrificial, makes us forgivers)
- Looking at the points for humility, which one or two come more easily for you? Which ones are harder for you?
- Why is humility hard? Why is pride easy?
Can you think of an example in your life or marriage when pride or a lack of humility made you unteachable, unapologetic, unsacrificial or unforgiving?
Note for groups with married couples: It is important that everyone answer this question only using an example for themselves and not their spouse. We do not want anyone pointing fingers by sharing a time that their spouse lacked humility. If this happens, gently remind your group members to answer only about themselves.
How might that situation have looked different if you had applied a principle from these verses?
2. In this weekend’s message, Christopher talked about how conviction keeps us on track in life and marriage. Conviction can be described as a deep and unwavering commitment to what you believe to be right or true. How do you see the concept of conviction reflected in these passages?
Hebrews 3:1-6, 12-14 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
Hebrews 10:23, 35-39 New International Version (NIV)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
James 4:4-8 New International Version (NIV)
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Additional Question: Do you see any of the four points about conviction from the sermon notes reflected in these verses? (Keeps Christ at the center, keeps us focused on the mission, keeps our mind on eternity, keeps us from infidelity)
With these principles in mind, what might it look like when people lack conviction?
- Why is conviction so important for living out the Christian life? What is the end result if we don’t have strong conviction?
- When you think of people who have a strong sense of conviction, who are unwavering in how they pursue Christ, what other words or qualities come to mind to describe what that looks like in their lives?
Reflecting on these verses, how do you think we grow or hold onto our conviction?
Additional Question: If a person doesn’t have a strong sense of conviction, where would it come from, or how would they get it? If a person does have a strong sense of conviction, how would they hold onto it?
Possible answers could include fixing our thoughts on Jesus, reading God’s Word to increase our understanding of who He is, coming near to God in prayer, remaining in Christian community, etc.
As you think about your own life or marriage, does conviction play a role in your day-to-day life? If so, how? If not, how could it?
Note for groups with married couples: Again, we want to make sure everyone answers only about their own conviction and not their spouse’s. We do not want anyone pointing fingers by talking about their spouse lacking conviction. If this happens, gently remind your group members to answer only about themselves.
Possible answers could include: Conviction reminds me to fix my eyes on Jesus, read the Word, intentionally grow and maintain my relationship with Him, be in Christian community where I can learn from others and allow them to speak into my life/our marriage, honor God and my spouse with my actions, put the interests of my spouse before mine, etc.
3. Every believer, whether married or unmarried, is called to represent the Gospel and live in such a way that others may know Jesus better. In the following two passages, Paul lays out his vision for marriage and singleness. In what ways could both of these, if lived out in the way these verses describe, be an instrument for showing Christ to others?
Note: This question asks more specifically about marriage and singleness than the previous two. Again, we know that many people in Life Groups are unmarried. We have provided multiple question options to customize your Life Group session to your group members, whether you have marrieds, singles or a mix of both. As a reminder, the goal of a successful meeting is to hear from everyone and keep God’s word at the center. For couple groups: If there are any questions you believe would be a good fit for your group to discuss in men only / women only, keep that in mind as an option.
Ephesians 5:21-32 New International Version (NIV)
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
1 Corinthians 7:32-34 New International Version (NIV)
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
- What words stand out to you as you read these verses?
- A lot of us struggle with the word “submit” when it comes to marriage in Scripture. There are many misconceptions about what submission means for husbands and wives, and for Christians in general. How would you explain biblical submission to someone based on the example of Jesus in the following verses?
- What does “undivided devotion” look like for the unmarried person in 1 Corinthians 7:35?
- Why do you think Paul wishes that everyone were unmarried as he was in 1 Corinthians 7:6-8?
Additional Verses: Colossians 3:17-24
If someone else were observing how you are currently doing marriage/singleness, what do you think they might learn about Jesus from you? What would you hope they learn about Jesus?
Additional Question: Evaluate how true you believe this statement is for you on a scale of 1 to 5: People could know Jesus better because of the way we are doing marriage/I am doing singleness.
Additional Question for groups with married couples: We know that because of the current times, many people have experienced external factors that might cause stress on a marriage: financial stress, job insecurity/changes, kids doing school at home, working from home, working more hours, working less hours, being in close proximity more than normal, etc. When you think about your marriage over the past year, have you noticed any changes, positive or negative, due to any of these types of factors from this current season?
- Are there any principles from this weekend’s message you would like to prioritize or re-reprioritize in your marriage in this season?
1. Looking back on the five characteristics of Priscilla and Aquila from Christopher’s sermon, are there any you would like to implement more in your own life or marriage?
2. What is most important for you to remember from this week’s sermon or Life Group study?
COVID-safe community service projects have been created for your group. To see what our high needs projects are, visit our website at NorthCoastCommunityService.org
Video from our Community Service Pastor: northcoastcommunityservice.org/community-service-impact/