LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 9, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
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 the bottom of the homework 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, corn hole, pickle ball and disc golf tournaments. If you have something you like to donate for the raffle, please contact Vikki at [email protected].
FINALIZE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL and / or SERVICE PROJECT
Finalize plans for what service project you would like to do. Check our website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org
Online Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/group-socials/
In-person Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
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
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?
1. When you were a kid, how would you have answered the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Did your life as an adult turn out how you thought it would when you were a kid?
This should be a fun one to learn about your group members, while touching on the theme of expectations from the sermon.
Additional Question: In what ways has your life turned out the way you thought it would and in what ways is your life different?
2. This weekend we got a “reality check” about what things are actually like when God shows up. Which one of Larry’s five points was your least favorite to hear, or the point you wish you could change the most?
This can still be a fun one to answer, while being serious, too. If you could change only one of the points, which one would you pick? Example: “If had it my way, victory would happen overnight,” or “there’d be no Shebas.”
1. We were reminded this weekend that living in the center of God’s will is often not as easy or smooth as we hope it will be. Even though we would prefer otherwise, Larry mentioned God promises to deliver us through, not from hardships and setbacks. As you read the following verses, what phrases or ideas help give you insight into why God might allow us to walk through hardship instead of just taking it away altogether?
1 Peter 1:6-9 New International Version (NIV)
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
James 1:2-4 New International Version (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Psalm 66:8-12 New International Version (NIV)
8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
- Note the lengths of time that are referred to or implied in these verses: “now for a little while,” “when Jesus Christ is revealed,” “the end result,” “perseverance” all seem to imply a continuation of the trial and reinforce what Larry said about victory not happening overnight. What difference do you think time makes in our experience of a trial? How would our experience of a trial be different if it lasted two weeks versus 20 years?
- Charles Spurgeon said, “God educates us in such a way that we can endure years from now what we cannot endure today.” Have you ever noticed things you are able to face or deal with now that you wouldn’t have been able to handle as well in the past? If so, what do you think contributed to your being able to grow or mature in that area?
Each passage talks about some benefits that trials produce in our faith. Can you think of a time you saw one or more of these benefits in your life because of a trial God brought you through?
Some people may not have an answer for this, and that’s okay. Have you seen perseverance in your life, have you seen maturity, have you seen refining, etc.? This is not necessarily asking about the trial, but about how the trial grew you.
The verses also talk about rejoicing, finding joy or praising God in the midst of trials. This is often easier said than done. What are some things that make it hard for us to do this? What are some things that might help us or make it easier to do this?
- How do you balance rejoicing while still being authentic with the pain or difficulty in the situation? What does that look like?
- It is often so much easier to be grateful for difficult things after they are over than when we are in the middle of them. What encouragement do you (or can you) hold onto when it’s hard to rejoice in the midst of it?
- On a scale of 1-10 (highest), how challenging is it for you to maintain the perspective on trials and suffering these passages talk about?
Imagine if you never experienced hardships or situations that tested your faith. What kind of life do you think you would have? What do you imagine you might miss out on?
The answers for this can be general or very specific. Example: If I hadn’t gone through this season, I would have missed out on this lesson.
- Are there facets of God’s character you understand better now that you might have missed out on if it weren’t for the hardships?
- Are there aspects of your relationship with God that might have looked different? i.e., did those hardships grow your relationship with God?
- How would your relationships with other people be different?
- What is a way you’ve grown from going through trials?
2. Larry pointed out some things we should and should not expect when God shows up. The following Scriptures speak to our expectations as followers of Jesus. As you read the verses, make a list of things they tell us we can expect as Christians, or that are promised to us. Then, make a list of what comes to mind that these verses do not tell us to expect, things that are omitted from the verses, or are not promised to followers of Christ.
1 Peter 4:12-14 New International Version (NIV)
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
1 Peter 5:6-11 New International Version (NIV)
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
James 1:12 New International Version (NIV)
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
|What to expect…||What NOT to expect…|
Looking at what you wrote in your lists, what brings you the most encouragement? What challenges you the most?
Additional Question: Where do you see the five points from Larry’s sermon reinforced in your list or these passages?
Have you ever found yourself expecting something from God that isn’t promised to us? If so, how did that expectation impact your faith or understanding of Him?
- Where do you think that expectation came from?
- What lesson did you learn in the process and how did you adjust your expectation?
- Are there any “hard truths” about God’s ways or walking with Him that you have had to grapple with in your life?
Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
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/