LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of February 20, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Goals for the Evening:
- Continue to build relationships
- Pray together
Life Group Leader / Hosts Community Gatherings / MID-QUARTER TRAINING
Vista Campus Trainings scheduled now / Other Campuses coming soon
Vista Campus Mid-Quarter Training for Leaders and Hosts: These sessions are designed to give a connection point with other leaders and hosts and along with sharpening your leadership skills and providing valuable information and tips as you lead your group. Make sure you check the schedule and plan to attend the training for your Station in Life. Click on this link for more info, dates and to RSVP.
- Remember you don’t have to answer every question!
- Choose questions best suited to your group.
- Listen to the Audio Guide/Podcast for more discussion suggestions.
- Take prayer requests
- If you haven’t divided into male/female groups already, you may want to do so for the Taking It Home section and prayer.
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 week we heard about the “you made me do this” myth, meaning blaming others for how we respond. Unfortunately, our response remains on us, not someone else. What’s one of those silly examples of what others do that pushes your buttons or triggers a less than desirable response by you?
The point of this is to have fun and start with ideas that really aren’t a big deal and it’s totally crazy that they set us off. It can range from neat freaks, to leaving clothes on the floor, not making the bed, driving too slow, not using the blinker and the list goes on.
2. Larry gave us six responses in this weekend’s teaching on how to move forward when the other side isn’t playing fair. Which two were most important for you to hear and why?
An important question to have everyone respond to as it will give you context to where people are at. It’s ok if this is the only question you have time for. It’s recommended to close your time in your group dividing into men only / women only, which could open up more discussion on this topic.
Note: Digging Deeper #1 sets up coming up with practical ways of loving and moving toward your enemies.
1. All of us encounter people who are challenging for us to love. Larry gave some great references and examples of how to move toward them in a positive way, control our responses and return good for evil. What additional help do the following verses give us to put all of these into action?
Ephesians 4:29 New International Version (NIV) 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Matthew 5:41-47 New International Version (NIV) 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Additional Question: What are some examples of what going the extra mile looks like?
Proverbs 15:1 New International Version (NIV) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 25:21-22 New International Version (NIV) 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
Galatians 6:9 New International Version (NIV) 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Titus 3:9 New International Version (NIV) 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
Additional Verse: Matthew 5:16
Which of these is most helpful for you when it comes to showing love to those who oppose you or cause you difficulty?
Good question to have everyone answer.
Can you think of any additional specific examples of how to love these people in real and practical ways? What does that look like?
Larry shared the example of not avoiding the isle they are in at the grocery store. You can set this question up by asking, “What are some examples of going the extra mile?”
A note about how forgiveness plays out and our ability to love our enemies
One of the keys to being able to love those who have wronged us or oppose us is to understand we are all sinful and need to be forgiven (Romans 3:23) and that all are of great worth because we’re all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We all equally deserve God’s judgement and need His forgiveness and mercy just as much as our enemy does. If someone continues to struggle internally mind with a person who has wronged them, it may be that they have not worked through forgiving and releasing them for God to judge them for the wrong they have committed to God. When we are unable to forgive, we can then be held “hostage” in our mind to the wrong that was done. This can be no small challenge depending on the size of the offense. It may start with just asking God to help you to want to forgive and release the other person. Forgiveness does not mean to trust or approve of wrongdoing. It means you are releasing them, and rather than you having to enforce the consequence or justice, you let God or someone else put that into action.
2. We also saw this weekend that loving our enemies does not mean putting ourselves in toxic or dangerous situations. David knew his life was in danger with Saul, so he fled. Knowing when to engage with someone or when to draw a tight boundary can be challenging for everyone. How do the following verses reinforce the importance of this kind of boundary?
Titus 3:10 New International Version (NIV) 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.
The Message translation of this verse: Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him. It’s obvious that such a person is out of line, rebellious against God. By persisting in divisiveness, he cuts himself off.
Ephesians 5:6-11 New International Version (NIV) 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Have nothing to do with the those are all talk, and not action. We are seen as people of light.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 New International Version (NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Have nothing to do with these people.
What catches your eye the most in regard to setting boundaries and not falling into the trap of toxic or dangerous relationships or settings?
Good question to have everyone answer.
Discussion Recommendation: Divide into Men Only / Women Only for these next two questions and the “Taking It Home” Section
Is there anything in these verses you yourself need to be careful not to do in order to love others and be a safe person for them?
This is referring back to 2 Timothy 3:1-5. You can rephrase this question to ask, “Which one do you need to be careful of, as we all have issues we need to be aware of?”
*A mark of a safe person is someone who allows others to speak into their life in areas of concern. How are you doing at this?
You can create a rating scale to help people answer (1-5 with 5 being high).
Discussion Recommendation: Divide into Men Only / Women Only for this section
1. Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
2. Is there a challenging situation you’re in that you need prayer for to discern next steps for yourself or someone else?
Be careful of allowing people to move into giving advice if something is shared. Our goal is not fix situations, but to be there to support them if they want to move forward. Asking the 4 Q’s (see below) may be an important response. If they want to deal with this further, let them know you can process with them further offline (outside of group) and or can get some help if they would like. And remember to never promise confidentiality if asked. When asked, you can respond by letting them know that of course they trust you and you care about them deeply and that you will never share anything beyond this conversation unless it is about causing harm to them or someone else.
The Four Q’s
Four key questions to ask when someone comes to you with any issue or challenge they’re experiencing.
#1 How long has this being going on?
#2 Who else knows?
#3 Have you received any advice or counsel on how to deal with this?
#4 What do you think might be your next step?
NORTH COAST CHURCH WOMEN’S CONFERENCE
Women of all ages and stages – this event is for YOU! Join the women of North Coast Church March 18 & 19 at the Vista Campus as we dig into the theme, Freedom in Christ. Enjoy worship, prayer, breakout sessions and many fun activities! For more details and to register, visit northcoastchurch.com/womens-conference/.