LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of May 8, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
END OF QUARTER / FALL QUARTER PLANS After this week, there will be two remaining meetings left before the end of the quarter. If you know of potential changes in the leadership or hosting of your group for the fall, please begin to process that with your group this week. Also, make sure your Campus Pastor/Station-in-Life-Pastor knows about the changes.
DIGITAL FEEDBACK FORMS COMING NEXT WEEK End of the quarter Feedback Forms will be emailed to each person in your group on Sunday, May 15. Please have your group fill them out at one of your two final meetings for the quarter if they haven’t done so already on their own.
ATTENDANCE 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
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 we saw the consequences the Amalekite experienced when he lied about killing Saul. Have you ever embellished or stretched the truth? Did you get away with it? Have you caught someone else doing this? What was the result? What is the harm in stretching or embellishing the truth?
Discussion Note: Another way this question could go is a time you omitted the truth. Either way, adding to or taking away details from a story can bring about some interesting consequences. Hopefully you hear some fun childhood stories that help you to get to know something new about a group member. You may also hear some serious stories with heavy results. Be prepared for both.
2. Upon hearing the news from the Amalekite, David mourned Saul and Jonathan’s deaths. Do you have any childhood memories of loss or mourning? What are some ways you were taught to deal with loss and grief (this could include anything from the loss of a parent’s job, moving, loss of a friendship, a pet or a death in the family)?
Discussion Note: Our families of origin teach us so much about navigating life, whether taught explicitly or just learned from behaviors exhibited by mom, dad, siblings and other family members. Our culture also plays a role. This question is not intended to be just about death. As a leader, be prepared to answer first on this one if group members don’t jump in right away.
1. This week we heard how David responded to Saul’s death in a surprising way. Despite all that Saul had done to him, he wasn’t filled with bitterness and hatred at the memory of Saul. Instead, he mourned his death. The challenge for us is to become people who, like David, can extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to people who have wronged or hurt us. What are some guidelines God’s Word gives us to help us do this?
Ephesians 4:30-32 New International Version (NIV)
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Hebrews 12:14-15 New International Version (NIV)
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Think back to a time when you received forgiveness from God or from someone in your life. How did it feel? How did you respond to God or the person?
- What is the difficulty for people knowing how to forgive?
- What are some reasons it is difficult to receive forgiveness?
Can you think of someone you’re having a hard time getting along with? What would it look like for you to apply one of the guidelines you found in these passages to that relationship?
Discussion Note: The “someone” could be a coworker, spouse, sibling or family member. Please encourage the group to answer with discretion.
The simplest answer would be to read the answer straight from the verse.
- Do you have any role in the difficulty/conflict?
- How do you practically “live in peace” (Heb 12:14-15) with someone you have conflict with? What does it look like to be holy?
- How do you get rid of “bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice” when they just keep coming back?
What are some consequences you, or the relationship, may experience when you hold on to bitterness rather than choosing to extend grace and mercy?
Discussion Note: When we hold on to bitterness, it affects us as well as the relationship. There’s a saying that holding on to bitterness and anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Billy Graham said, “Bitterness is anger gone sour, an attitude of deep discontent that poisons our souls and destroys our peace.” And of course, we can refer back to the title of the sermon, “How to Get Better, Not Bitter.” Bitterness is a choice.
2. This weekend we heard about David responding with lament and grief when he heard about Saul and Jonathan’s deaths. Grief is a normal response to the death of a loved one. But the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 that Christian grief should look very different from worldly grief. After reading the passage, answer the following questions:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 New International Version (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
What makes Christian grief different?
Hope. “As Christians, we may mourn the death of other Christians; but not as others who have no hope. Our sorrow is like the sadness of seeing someone off on a long trip, knowing you will see them again but not for a long time.” (David Guzik, Enduring Word Media Source)
What truths from the passage give you hope about life after death?
Note: Paul used the word “asleep” which was a common way to express death in that time. It does not imply a state of suspended animation where the dead are waiting for a resurrection to consciousness.
Additional Question: What does this passage say Jesus will do for believers who have died?
Can you think of some things people could say to someone who is grieving that most likely wouldn’t be helpful or comforting to them? How about things that would be helpful or comforting to share?
Note: You may have people who have a comment on the not helpful list and others who have the same comment on the helpful list. If that happens, that will make for some discussion as they share why they had it where they did.
Don’t be surprised if people share real life examples of what people have said to them.
When dealing with grieving people, we have a tendency to want to diminish or eliminate the pain and loss. We want to fix something, but we can’t. What we can do is be there to support them and express our care for them.
When we are the ones grieving, we may feel the pressure to “stay strong” or “keep it together”. When we are going through loss, we must give ourselves the freedom and space to grieve and mourn.
Everyone grieves differently. Some factors that affect how we grieve are 1) past experience with grief; 2) relationship with the deceased; and 3) circumstances surrounding the death (sudden or lingering death, natural death or caused by someone else, etc.)
Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
TWO-DAY EVENT ON MARRIAGE – May 20-21, 2022 at the San Marcos/Escondido Campus
Hosted by North Coast Military Connection which serves all active duty, veterans or retired military and their families.
Featuring keynote speakers, Steve & Debbie Wilson with Marriage Matters Now, this two-day conference teaches couples how to take six practical steps to communicate that will deepen the emotional level of their marriage. Check out northcoastchurch.com/navigate-life-conference/ for more info and to register!