LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 30, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
MEN’S / WOMEN’S CONFERENCE CHECK-IN – If anyone attended these in your group, see if they want to share any highlights.
LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY GATHERINGS / MID-QUARTER TRAINING
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
ABOUT POLITICS IN LIFE GROUP – We 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 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.
What stood out to you most from what you heard or read in this weekend’s message?
1. Ricky shared with us what faith is and what faith is not. Are there any definitions or understandings of faith you have had in your lifetime that have changed over time? (i.e., “I used to think faith was… but now I…”)
Some may not have an answer for this, but it could be interesting to see if anyone’s understanding of what faith is has changed overtime.
2. This weekend, we saw how we can confidently trust God because He is big enough. What is the most trusting relationship you’ve ever seen or been in? What made it a trusting relationship? Do you see any similarities between that relationship and your relationship with God?
This question asks us to think about what is required in a relationship for trust to be present and then draw connections to our relationship with God and His trustworthiness.
Other ways to ask this question:
- What makes a person trustworthy? Do those same things also apply to God’s trustworthiness?
- Have you ever trusted a person to come through for you on something you needed or really cared about? If so, why did you choose that person, and what made you feel like you could trust them?
1. This weekend, Ricky reminded us of what it means to have big faith in a big God, who is more than able to come through and take care of all our needs. Peter provides us with a vivid picture of faith in Matthew 14:22-33. Read the passage and write out a definition of faith in your own words based on the example of Peter in the passage.
Matthew 14:22-33 New International Version (NIV)
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Verse 30 describes a turning point when Peter takes his eyes off Jesus, sees the wind and starts to sink. When you think about your own life, on a scale of 1-10 (1 – never, 10 – always), how often do “wind,” external circumstances or fears affect your faith? Explain your rating.
Everyone should have an answer for this.
- Can you think of any situations in your own life where fear has caused a distraction in your faith and made your trust in God waver? If so, where did that fear come from?
- When faced with these kinds of situations, has anything helped you keep your eyes on Jesus and keep from sinking? If yes, explain.
- Make a list of some of the external circumstances or fears that can challenge our faith as followers of Jesus.
- Sometimes, it can be easy to have a head knowledge that God is powerful and can do anything, but we still struggle to see how He’ll come through in the situation in front of us. Have you ever had a time when it felt like there was a disconnect between what you believed in your mind and what you felt in your heart when it came to trusting God? If so, are there any factors you think may have contributed to it being hard to trust God?
Can you think of a time when you felt fearful and cried out to Jesus the way Peter did, and He pulled you out of the water or met you in your time of need? If so, was there a key takeaway from that experience?
Some people may not have an answer for this, but the stories shared could serve as an encouragement to others. How has God comforted you or come through for you when you have put your faith in Him in times of trouble?
If you were warned that in the next few weeks, you’d face a situation that would challenge your faith, but you had an opportunity to tell yourself something when that happens, what encouragement would you give the next time you need it? What would you want to know or remember about God and who He is?
Group Activity Option: You could have everyone write out a note to their future self of what they would like to remember in their next storm and keep in an envelope that says “Open when you need encouragement” or “Open when fear is taking over,” etc.
Additional Question: Is there anything you wish someone would have encouraged you with at a previous time when your faith was struggling?
2. We see in Scripture that God has a track record of being trustworthy. Sometimes our trust problem is a memory problem because we easily forget God’s track record of faithfulness. Read this portion of His track record from Jeremiah 32:17-22 and write down anything that stands out to you about His faithfulness.
Jeremiah 32:17-22 New International Version (NIV)
17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Oftentimes, God is more faithful than we realize; we just have to think about it. If you were to make a list like this of God’s track record of faithfulness in your own life or your family’s life, what would be on it?
Additional Question: Can you think of some reasons we forget God’s track record?
Have any of the events or memories of God’s faithfulness on your list helped you more readily trust God in situations that came after them?
Additional Question: How does remembering God’s past faithfulness help us hope in His future faithfulness?
Additional Verses: In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul reminds the church that the same power with which God raised Jesus from the dead is for us today. What encouragement does it give us to remember God’s ultimate act of faithfulness and power in the death and resurrection of Christ?
Are there any ways you can think of to create reminders of these times of God’s faithfulness so you don’t forget them?
Group Activity Option: You may challenge everyone to create a physical reminder of a time God has been faithful to them and bring it to group next week. This could be a piece of art or décor for their home, a bracelet or wearable reminder, a bookmark or keepsake to keep in their Bible, etc.
Is there any situation or area of your life in which you’d like to trust God more?