LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of April 24, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Group Connection / Discussion Reminder
Continue to be aware of how the time in your group is being used and make sure you’re allowing time to connect and pray for one another. If you spend most of the meeting one week answering the questions, make sure you allow plenty of time to connect and pray the following week. If you haven’t done so lately and you’re a male/female group, make sure you’re getting time to break into women-only/men-only groups to take prayer requests. Sharing oftentimes goes up when you do this.
Does anyone need some extra attention in your group?
Just a quick reminder, if someone shares something, a text, phone call or note letting them know you’re thinking about them later that week can be a big encouragement.
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
Beginning to Think About New Groups for the Fall
With our weekly church attendance continuing to climb, we foresee a significant need for additional groups in the fall. Please be praying with us as begin to see who might be able to lead those groups.
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. This weekend’s message focused on finding strength in God in the tough moments of life. When it comes to the everyday moments of life, what is your most frequent go-to fix when you need strength or energy? (Sleep, caffeine, food, exercise, other people, etc.?)
Have fun with this! Are there any weird habits people have to keep them awake or get them through the day?
2. In the story this weekend, grace influenced how David saw “his” spoil. Have you ever been the recipient of grace from another person? If so, what do you think influenced that person’s grace toward you? Did their grace have any effect on how you have extended grace to others? If so, explain.
Everyone may not have an answer for this.
- Have you seen grace from others help you pay it forward to others in your life?
- Has someone ever given you a significant gift that you then shared with others?
- Have you ever had a hard time being gracious to others even after someone was gracious to you? Explain.
1. Chris talked this weekend about the difference between hoping God is in control and knowing God is in control. The change came for David when he turned over control to God, walked as if he knew God was in control and found strength in the Lord. What do you notice about God’s strength and Him being in control from the following passages?
Isaiah 45:5-7 New International Version (NIV)
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
Isaiah 45:22-25 New International Version (NIV)
22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
25 But all the descendants of Israel
will find deliverance in the Lord
and will make their boast in him.
Isaiah 40:28-31 New International Version (NIV)
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
The author of Scripture seems to set up our strength by reminding us of how strong and in control God is first. How might remembering what you noticed in these verses help someone increase their strength?
- How might remembering God’s strength make you feel stronger?
- What does it mean to you that God is strong? What does He/His strength do for you?
- Are there any other attributes of God (besides His strength and control) you can think of that might encourage or strengthen someone?
- When do you personally feel the most strong in the Lord and how?
Instead of immediately jumping to action when David’s city was destroyed, he first paused, found strength and prayed. Though this may not have been his first instinct as a warrior, strength is promised to those who hope in God (Isaiah 40:31). Is there a time in your life when you have needed strength from God? If so, were you able to find strength when you needed it?
Answers may vary. If someone does have a time when they found strength when they needed it, it could be an awesome opportunity to share that testimony and encourage others. If someone has a time where they didn’t feel like they ever found the strength they hoped for, it could be a great opportunity to discuss what it means to be strong in the Lord.
- If you found the strength you needed, how did you find it? What did you turn to when seeking God during that time?
- Did you feel instantly encouraged or did it take time?
- What did you learn from that experience?
- If not, what do you think it means to be strong in the Lord? What does it not mean?
- What hope can we hold onto when we don’t feel strong?
When do you find it hardest to stop, turn to God and seek strength?
- When do you most naturally think to stop and pray?
- What are some possible things we naturally turn to for strength in tough times instead of God? (Advice from others, our own logic or wisdom, norms of culture/society, vices that make us feel better, etc.)
- How might you find strength in God above other things?
Can you think of anything that God might use to strengthen us in addition to Scripture and prayer?
Additional Question: What are some good things God can use in our lives to encourage or strengthen us? (Wise friends with different perspectives, time away or a break from the situation, healthy disciplines that help us take care of our minds and bodies, etc.)
Additional Verses: Ephesians 6:10-18
Additional Question: Is there anything you notice in these verses about the armor of God that might help you understand how to find strength in the Lord and what it looks like?
2. In the sermon, we heard about how grace is not just an attribute of God, but when we truly understand it, grace impacts how we see our lives. Zacchaeus, the tax collector is a great example of this. As you read Luke 19:1-10, how is his understanding of the grace he received from Jesus reflected in Zacchaeus’ response and what he does with his possessions?
Luke 19:1-10 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
On the other hand, the parable of the unforgiving servant illustrates what it looks like when we don’t let grace affect how we live and treat others. What do you notice about the contrast between the servant’s response in Matthew 18:21-35 and that of Zacchaeus?
Matthew 18:21-35 New International Version (NIV)
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
- What would it say about our understanding of grace if we didn’t pass it on to others?
- Are there moments where it’s still hard for you to be gracious to others?
- What words or phrases from these verses are most encouraging or compelling for you to live a lifestyle of grace?
On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (always), rate how often the following statement feels true for you: “Grace is a lifestyle and lens through which I see my life.” Explain why you chose that rating.
- If you rated yourself in the middle (sometimes), when do you see this as true for you, and when do you not?
- Where do you see grace outpouring in your life?
- Do you think the people around you would consider you a grace-giving person? Why or why not? (You can break this into categories: spouse, family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, strangers in public, etc.)
Can you think of anything you could incorporate into your life that would increase your rating?
- What might it look like to be more gracious in the different areas of your life, or with the different categories of people in your life?
- Is there an area of your life where you feel you have the most room for improvement when it comes to living out grace?
- Is there anything you see someone else do that embodies grace that you would like to incorporate more into your life?
Which point from this weekend’s message or Life Group study is most important for you to remember?