LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 2, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
CONTINUE TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Begin to think about what service project you would like to do. Check our website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org
In-person Social Ideas: https://lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
Online Social Ideas: https://lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/group-socials/
NORTH COAST MEN’S CONFERENCE – OCTOBER 28 & 29
This is a great opportunity for the guys in your Life Group to get connected at a new level. See below for details. We’ll be raising money once again for one of the women’s resource centers in our community that helps women and families in distress. There will be multiple ways to contribute including raffles for prizes (Big Screen TV, BBQ’s, etc.) along with various tournaments and activities including poker, cornhole and disc golf tournaments. If you have something you like to donate for the raffle, please contact Vikki at [email protected].
WOMEN’S GATHERING at North Coast Leadership Conference – October 17, 6-9pm at the Vista Campus – see the bottom of the Study Questions for more details.
LEADER TIP FOR WEEK #3
Your group time together is valuable! The key? Making sure you find time to hear from everyone in your group and make sure they feel valued and heard. Check out this 60 second clip from Pastor Dave Enns to hear more. >>> youtu.be/_PnpYc58iTM
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: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/how-to-post-attendance
This is the last week we’ll include a “Getting to Know You” question that is simply designed to learn something new about the people in your group. Next week we’ll return to all “My Story” questions, which focus on the topic of the sermon.
Discussion Reminder: Our goal is to hear from everyone every time you meet and keep God’s Word at the center! Our goal is not to answer all the questions. We ask multiple questions to give groups options to focus on. Pick the questions that seem to fit your group the best. Make sure you get everyone involved in the discussion, and make sure you leave time for people to share personally and any needed prayer requests.
1. What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
2. Can you think of a time in your life when you escaped a punishment or consequence that you deserved?
Discussion Note: These are intended to be fun openers that hopefully get everyone sharing. They are low level vulnerability and all should feel comfortable answering.
Quick Review: 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?
This is a chance for people to comment on anything they heard in the sermon.
We have two Digging Deeper questions this week. Feel free to choose the question that works best for your group. Remind your group that the goal is to hear from everyone and keep God’s word at the center. If you remind your group, that will help if you have someone in your group who dominates the conversation. This will help as you build trust with group members.
1. This weekend’s message challenged us with the command that we have to give what we have been given. In other words, what God has done for us, we must do for others. Psalm 103:8-12 gives us insight into God’s forgiving nature and what He has done for us. As you read these verses, circle, highlight or underline what jumps out to you regarding God’s forgiveness.
If group members didn’t circle/highlight/underline, you can give them a minute to do it during group OR you can encourage them to do it as someone reads the passage of scripture aloud.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Now go back and read through a second time and replace God’s name with your own.
Example: Jordanna is compassionate and gracious… Jordanna will not always accuse, nor will she harbor her anger forever…
This may be hard for some people and the hope is that it is a powerful exercise. The goal is for people to evaluate how they work out forgiving others.
What surprises you, catches your attention or challenges you by putting your name in the psalm?
Good question to have everyone answer. Chances are there will be a variety of responses.
- Which phrase in the psalm is most important for you to remember or challenges you the most? Is there one you’ve seen God grow in you over time?
- Did a specific person or situation come to mind whom you need to forgive when reading the verses? (Feel this one out as it may be intense for Week 3, but if your group has been meeting together for some time, this could be a great opportunity for some deep conversation.)
- For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
- Parable of the Unmerciful Servant Matthew 18:21-35 – we used this last Spring, but it’s a great illustration of how quickly we can forget that our debts have been forgiven and the response of the master when we do not give mercy to others.
2. As followers of Jesus, the hallmark of our faith in Him is that we are people who forgive and pass on the grace and mercy that we have ourselves received from God. How do the following verses further reveal what living out God’s forgiveness looks like?
Suggestion: Maybe have one person from the group take each verse to read out loud, however don’t force anyone to read out loud. You can always ask folks ahead of time if they feel comfortable reading one verse out loud.
Note: Some of us are going to think of examples like getting cut off on the freeway or a coworker who is consistently 15 minutes late to every meeting, while others are going to be thinking of scenarios where they may have been cheated out of a large sum of money or discovered a spouse was unfaithful. Be aware of the spectrum here, just like the different varieties of sin from Larry’s message last week, we are not only being commanded to forgive those who sin in ignorance, but others who have willfully and intentionally sinned against us or have made stupid decisions with disastrous consequences. Be prepared for the different ways this question could go. Forgiveness can be a process.
Forgiveness is a Choice – the author shares a four-phase process to forgiveness.
- Phase 1- Uncovering Your Anger: In this phase it’s important to investigate your anger. How is it affecting you? How are you avoiding dealing with it? Has your injury affected how you view the world?
- Phase 2- Deciding to Forgive: A person will decide that what they’ve been doing hasn’t worked. They will choose to engage in the process of forgiveness. In this phase a person will decide to forgive.
- Phase 3- Working on Forgiveness: In this phase a person will work toward understanding and compassion. They will work toward accepting the pain of their past.
- Phase 4- Discovery and Release from Emotional Prison: In this final phase the offended person will discover their personal need for forgiveness. They will also discover that they’re not alone, along with their purpose in life. They will begin to walk in the freedom of forgiveness.
Colossians 3:13 New International Version (NIV) 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
1 John 1:9 New International Version (NIV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Colossians 4:6 New International Version (NIV) 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
James 4:6 New International Version (NIV) 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Chris said this weekend that living out God’s forgiveness brings freedom. Looking at the verses above, can you think of any ways each one would actually result in freedom?
Brainstorm with your group on this.
Example: 1 John 1:9 – confession is not fun. We don’t want to approach the Lord or even a friend and admit we have done wrong, however, until we do that and bring the sin into the light, we are not able to truly experience freedom. IF/WHEN we confess, THEN He is faithful…
Example: Be always full of grace… well, it’s very hard, if not impossible to always be full of anything… BUT, if we strive to be full of grace and respond in grace in our conversations, this will have a very positive effect on our relationships and help us to avoid conflict and strife and misunderstandings which lead to… freedom!
Additional Question: You could ask the group to define “freedom” before getting into this question. Chris talks about this in the sermon and this may be a good opportunity for a discussion about what it might practically look like in our lives to walk in/live in freedom – All may not come up with how they can bring freedom. Interesting that freedom isn’t easy to attain.
Here’s the dictionary.com and the Merriam-Webster definition for reference.
Can you think of a situation in your life when doing what one of these verses describes led to freedom for you? If so, explain.
Not everyone will have an answer for this one and that is ok.
Again, here’s an opportunity to get practical. Sometimes we read verses that tell us to forgive, but we want our groups to talk about what that looks like in our lives and the different nuances depending on the person(s) involved and the situation.
Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
Additional Question: As you listened to the responses from the group, is there any encouragement you found that can help you apply any of the verses from question #2?
Question to Pose: Is there a particular person or situation requiring a response that you need to bring to God in prayer? Is there an action that you need to take?
(This may or may not need a verbal response. This could just be a challenge to your group. Feel it out. Again, if your group is new, people may not want to share out loud, but if you’ve been together for some time, there may be a situation you could corporately pray for and you, as the leader could challenge members to a response.)
Prayer Time Suggestion:
Week 3, this may be a good time to split up males and females for prayer time. If you think this is a good idea, plan for extra time at the end.
It’s back because the first year was incredible! Join us Friday evening, October 28 & Saturday morning, October 29, for the second North Coast Men’s Conference held at the Vista Campus! Come ready to recharge and refocus on God’s call for us with teaching led by pastors Chris Brown and Ricky Jenkins, along with worship, activities and tourneys! Register at northcoastchurch.com/mens-conference/