LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of May 15, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
ONLINE FEEDBACK FORMS THIS WEEK
We’d like to have your group fill out Feedback Forms this week. Let your group know how important their honest feedback is for you as Leaders and Hosts.
Here’s how the online forms work:
- Everyone in your group will receive their own personal email with a link to their Feedback Form on Sunday of this week. (Look for an email with “Tell us about your Life Group!” in the subject.)
- Each unique email link is designed for that specific person and isn’t meant to be shared.
- In the event that someone in your group can’t find the email, you may share a generic link listed here with them. lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/feedback
- Please take the time in your Life Group to have everyone complete the form if they have not already done so on their own.
- It’s just a few questions and should take less than two minutes to complete.
- We will be emailing you the results of your group’s feedback in the coming weeks.
DISCUSS PLANS FOR THE FALL & NEXT WEEK
Next week is the last meeting of the quarter. Find out from your group if they know their plans for being part of the group in the fall. They can indicate their plans on the Feedback Forms. Also, let us know of any roster updates that you know of, or changes to your meeting day, time or location for the Fall Quarter when you submit your attendance.
PRAYER FOR NEW FALL Life GROUP LEADERS & HOSTS
Take some time to pray for new Leaders and Hosts to launch new Life Groups in the Fall. We have seen some exciting growth in the past few months. See the prayer request at the bottom of this week’s homework.
SUMMER CONNECTION IDEAS
- Over the summer, you may want to consider planning a social with your group at the beach, having a game night, going out to dinner, attending one of our summer events/classes or meeting for guys-only/girls-only breakfast once or twice.
- You may also consider sending out prayer requests via email, text or mail; this is a great way to keep people connected.
EVENTS & CLASSES COMING THIS SUMMER
You may want to consider making one of these events a summer social for your group! Back by popular demand will be our Friday Night Summer Series on the Vista Campus. This year we’re calling it Fun Friday Nights with Illusionist Michael Hinton on June 17, Chris Brown on July 15, and Mark and Erin Clark doing a date night on marriage on August 11! There will also be a variety of other classes offered in-person and online throughout the summer on various campuses. More details coming next week!
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 heard about David getting a second chance to go home. Can you think of a time in your life when you messed up and someone gave you a second chance, maybe in a job or at school or in a relationship?
Discussion Tip: Not everyone will have an answer to this question, but those who do will undoubtedly have a good story to tell.
2. For David, Ziklag represents a time when he was way out of fellowship with God and living with all the consequences that came with that choice. Despite all the negative consequences of living in “Ziklag,” why do you think so many Christians continue to maintain residence there?
Additional Question: What are the main reasons that keep you living in Ziklag?
1. Chris talked about how there is a war between two kings in our lives (the flesh and the Spirit), and we can’t enjoy either kingdom when we’re trying to serve both. In Galatians 5:16-26, we see this war clearly addressed. As you read the passage…
- Circle / highlight any words or phrases that catch your attention.
- Underline what you think is important to remember.
- Put an X next to anything that confuses you.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Discussion Note: Ask people to share what they underlined, circled and highlighted. Feel free to ask follow-up questions such as, “Why was that important to you?” “What was it about that that caught your attention?” “Did any of you also highlight, circle or underline the same thing?”
Additional Verse: Ephesians 5:18 talks about not being drunk with wine but being filled with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is what enables a believer to walk in the Spirit. Paul makes the comparison in this verse between being drunk and being filled. In both cases, it means to be under the control of something else which results in behavior that is not “normal.” But when we’re under the control of the Spirit, the behavior we do is something we’ll not regret the next day.
- What does it look like in real life to be led by the Sprit?
- How can a person know if they are living by the Spirit? (Hint – they will bear the fruit of the Spirit)
- We all experience the battle between our sin nature and the Spirit. What are some areas believers you know struggle with the most in this battle? (i.e., thought life, relationships, habits, attitudes, etc.).
- What areas do you struggle in?
What challenges do you face attempting to consistently walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh?
In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul is very honest about the ongoing struggle all of us face between the flesh and the Spirit. But Romans 8 is filled with hope for having victory in this struggle. How could Romans 8:1-2 be of help to you in staying positive and confident as you fight this battle?
Romans 8:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Additional Question: Despite the fact we struggle with the fight against our sin nature, how does God view us?
Often, we focus too much on what our part is in producing fruit. What insights into your role in bearing fruit do you see in the following quote?
“I believe there is a reason Paul listed these virtues and moved on. They aren’t given to us as goals to pursue. Why? Because you and I cannot produce fruit…That’s not our responsibility. The Holy Spirit is the producer. We are merely the bearers. The fruit of the Spirit was never intended to be a demonstration of our dedication and resolve. It is the evidence of our dependency on and sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit.”
Charles Stanley in The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life
Additional Question: If this quote is accurate, how do you balance the Spirit growing you and you working on growing yourself?
2. When it comes to walking in the Spirit rather than the flesh, we need more than knowledge, willpower and effort. In John 15, Jesus used a vineyard analogy to explain what it takes to tap into God’s power and grow as a Christian. What do you notice about how each of the main characters (God, Jesus and the believer) in John 15:1-8 is involved in the spiritual growth process?
John 15:1-8 New International Version (NIV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God is the gardener, so He’s ultimately responsible for the output of the vineyard. He takes care of the watering, pruning and fertilizing.
Jesus is the vine which provides the nutrients for the fruit to be produced.
Believers are the branches which, when connected to the vine, produce fruit.
- How would you define what it means to “remain”?
- How does God provide the needed ingredients for us so we can be fruitful?
- What does a grapevine need to be fruitful?
- What happens when a grapevine has all of these ingredients?
- How does God provide similar things to us so we can be fruitful?
- What helps you consistently remain in Christ?
- What challenges do you face to consistently remain in Christ?
Note: People can sometimes confuse the fruit of the Spirit with the gifts of the Spirit. We have all been given different gifts (check out a list in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11). Even though we are not likely to have all the gifts, we can still bear all the fruit with help of the Holy Spirit.
If we want to remain in Christ, we need to put ourselves in a good environment that encourages this to happen. What ingredients do you need to create this kind of environment for yourself?
Fruit for believers is the outward expression of an inward nature. When we remain in Jesus, the fruit we bear will reflect well on Him. As you look at your life, can you identify any fruit (behaviors or attitudes) that may not be reflecting well on Jesus?
Discussion Note: This is a fairly personal question, so you need to decide if you want to ask it in your group. It would help others to feel comfortable answering it if you answered it first.
How could Philippians 2:12-13 help us better understand what’s our part and what’s God’s part in bearing fruit and remaining in Christ?
Philippians 2:12-13 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
If we focus only on our effort, we can start to believe spiritual growth is a self-improvement project. We become legalistic about doing various “spiritual disciplines,” believing that if we don’t do them often enough or long enough, we won’t grow.
However, if we go the other extreme and think that all growth is up to God, so I don’t need to do anything, we end up not taking advantage of the things God has made available to us for our growth like the Bible, prayer, fellowship and service.
John Ortberg, author and pastor, captures the perfect balance of the two when he writes, “Spiritual disciplines are not self-improvement techniques. They are not activities I do for spiritual extra-credit. They are what John Wesley called ‘means of grace.’ The Bible’s word for that is surrender. Self-improvement is no more God’s plan than is self-salvation. God’s plan is not just for us to be saved by grace—it is for us to live by grace. God’s plan is for my daily life to be given, guided, guarded, and energized by the grace of God. To live in grace is to flow in the Spirit.”
What do you think could happen to a person who focused only on their part in the growth process or who focused only on God’s part?
Additional Question: Can you think of a time in your life when you were more focused on one or the other of these options?
1. Are there any changes you need to make to help you more consistently remain in Jesus and walk in the Spirit?
Great question to use to lead into your prayer time.
2. Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
Praying for Fall Life Groups! Life Groups have always been foundational to how we do life at North Coast. We believe authentic Christian relationships are a vital spiritual health marker in the life of any follower of Jesus to gain the encouragement and support we all need (Hebrews 10:24-25). This past spring, we had our largest Spring Sign-ups for groups of all time! More and more people are coming to our weekend services and watching online! Please take some time this week in your group to pray that we would be able to connect the many new people coming to North Coast and raise up the new leaders and hosts we need for this fall!